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Posts tagged “Chocolate

Skinny Peppermint Mocha Slushie

Skinny Peppermint Mocha Slushie

It’s National Coffee Day … I intended to make it to the coffee shop this morning to buy myself a fancy coffee, but then I got busy with other things … When I finally got home this afternoon, I still had a craving for coffee. I opened the fridge and there sat a pot of cold coffee that my son had made. It’s very warm (almost summer-ish!) for late September, so I decided a peppermint mocha slushie would be a fitting way to celebrate the occasion.

If I had thought ahead, I would have frozen some coffee ice cubes. Oh well, it was still delicious.

Skinny Peppermint Mocha Slushie

  • 1/2 cup coffee, brewed double strength, then chilled
  • 1 cup 2% lowfat milk (or fat free half and half would be even creamier … I am sure almond or coconut or soy milk would work fine for this too)
  • 3 teaspoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons Stevia in the raw
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • several fresh mint leaves (if you have them)
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups crushed ice (or frozen coffee)

Pour everything into a blender and blend till it’s a nice smooth, slushie texture. Add more ice if needed to get it to the desired thickness.

Skinny Peppermint Mocha Slushie

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous FridayShare it Saturday, Scrumptious SundayWeekend Potluck, All my Bloggy Friends and Everyday Mom’s Meals.


Chocolate Pistachio Cannoli Icebox Cake

Chocolate Pistachio Cannoli Icebox Cake

Is it okay to have cake for breakfast? Because I really can’t sit here and look at all this drizzly chocolate and finish this post without eating some … it’s just TOO tempting.

This all started when Justine at Full Belly Sisters shared her recipe for Cannoli Ice Cream. It looked SO good! A few of my foodie friends also made it and they ALL raved about it. I was totally intrigued by the idea of using ricotta in ice cream … and so I decided to jump on the bandwagon and try it too.

I tasted the mixture before it went in the ice cream maker …oooooh yummmm! It tasted SO wonderful! … and when it came out, it was perfectly frozen and I couldn’t wait to dig in.

I discovered something about myself that day. I have a texture issue with ricotta cheese. At least in ice cream. I want my ice cream super smooth and creamy. Crunch from nuts or chewy brownie bits and things like that are ok. But any grainy texture at all … nope. I just can’t to it. Don’t get me wrong: the cannoli ice cream is fabulous, and maybe I screwed up and just didn’t puree it long enough in my blender. I do highly recommend trying the ice cream. Every single one of my friends that tried it totally RAVED about it. But I just couldn’t eat it. And since my kids will not touch anything with nuts in it, they would not eat it either. I put it in my freezer and forgot about it … until I was cleaning out my freezer the other day. I almost threw it out, then I had second thoughts. I stuck it in the fridge instead and started thinking: what could I do with this wonderful mixture? I toyed with the idea of a dessert lasagna, but that sounded like a lot of work.

I don’t know what made me think of it, but somehow I thought of doing an icebox cake. I’ve never ever made one before, but I’ve often marveled at the simplicity and beauty of them. And so began my first icebox cake. I was so incredibly excited to see the beautifully layered result and I cannot believe that chocolate graham crackers and ricotta cheese could transform into such a beautiful, decadent dessert! The crackers become delightfully cakey and they create such a GORGEOUS layered effect … I can’t wait to make my next icebox cake! I already have visions of other flavors dancing around in my head …

Chocolate Pistachio Cannoli Icebox Cake

Chocolate Pistachio Cannoli Icebox Cake

Inspired by Full Belly Sisters Cannoli Ice Cream. I didn’t have the full amount of ricotta mixture shown here because I had eaten SOME of the ice cream, but really it doesn’t matter. Just keep layering till it’s gone! This makes enough for 2-4 desserts, depending on how big your servings are. If you’re making it for a crowd, you’ll probably want to at least double the recipe.

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • small pinch of salt
  • 1 3/4 cups good-quality ricotta (I used lowfat)
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, chopped roughly
  • about 2 ounces dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa, chopped
  • Chocolate graham crackers (or cookies) — I used 4 full-size crackers, but you may need more.
  • additional chopped pistachios and chocolate syrup, for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Put the sugar, vanilla, salt and milk in your blender and blend until the sugar is dissolved. Add the ricotta and puree until smooth.
  2. Pour the ricotta mixture into a bowl and stir in the chopped pistachios & dark chocolate.
  3. Spray a small bowl or tray that fits your cracker size/shape, and set a cracker on the bottom. (I used two small square bowls that each fit half a cracker nicely.) Spread a layer of the ricotta mixture on top, then add another cracker, then another layer of ricotta. Repeat until the ricotta mixture is gone, ending with the ricotta mixture on top. Cover your bowl (or tray or whatever you’re using) with a plate that fits tightly (or if you must, use plastic wrap) and refrigerate overnight.
  4. To serve, cut wedges of the “cake” and use a spatula to place them on your plate, drizzle with chocolate syrup and serve. I would highly recommend garnishing this beautiful cake with some roasted, salted chopped pistachios, but alas, I was all out … at least I had chocolate syrup!

Chocolate Pistachio Cannoli Icebox Cake

This recipe was shared at Kitchen Fun FridayWeekend PotluckFriday Favorites, All my Bloggy Friends, Melt in your Mouth MondayTotally Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Talent Show, Wonderful Food Wednesday and Scrumptious Sunday.


Chocolate, Fruit & Nut Energy Bytes

Chocolate Fruit & Nut Energy Bites

Chocolate craving! Time for something chocolatey good. With nuts. Yes LOTS of nuts. Oh and some peanut butter. Dried fruit in there … ah yes. And to add a little bit more healthy yumminess, some oats.

Roll it all into a little ball and what do you have? A quick, healthy snack. Not one you want to eat a LOT of at one sitting because they are a bit calorific, but something you can grab on the go when you need a little energy, especially before or after a good workout. An energy byte! (Terrible geeky pun intended.)

I like to eat one of these for a bit of dessert after a good meal, or when I am running out the door and need something fast to grab for a quick bit of energy. Or when you need a quick chocolate fix, but you don’t want to totally destroy your healthy eating plan. A little bit of chocolate and a few nuts every day are very good for your health.

Chocolate Fruit & Nut Energy Bytes

Chocolate, Fruit & Nut Energy Bytes

You could use a good quality dark chocolate in place of the almond bark and cocoa powder. I just didn’t have enough on hand, so I decided to make my own “chocolate”!

  • 2 squares of almond bark (or white chocolate)
  • 4 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons of Chocolate PB2 powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 2/3 cup nuts (I used a mix of peanuts and cashews)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped into bits
  • Coarse sea salt

Directions:

  1. Melt the almond bark in a medium mixing bowl in the microwave by microwaving on high for 1 minute, stir, microwave for 30 seconds, stir again, keep microwaving for 30 seconds/stirring until the white almond bark is completely melted.
  2. Stir in the dark cocoa powder, PB2 powder, vanilla and peanut butter and stir until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  3. Stir in the oats, nuts, cranberries and apricot bits until everything is coated in chocolate. Form the mixture into balls and set on a tray. Sprinkle the bytes with a bit of coarse sea salt.
  4. Set it in the fridge until the chocolate is set, then transfer to a covered storage container. You can store these at room temperature or in the fridge, as you prefer. I like to eat them at room temperature so I’m not bothering to refrigerate mine. They aren’t going to last that long anyway!

Chocolate Fruit & Nut Energy Bytes

This recipe was shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Nut BloghopShare it SaturdayLunch Box Linky and Scrumptious Sunday.


1,2,3 Chocolate Zucchini Cake {Lowfat}

123 Chocolate Zucchini Cake {Lowfat}

This is a luscious, moist and healthy chocolatey cake that takes only takes a few minutes to put together (most of that time is grating the zucchini) and it’s so yummy! I made it years ago when my daughter-in-law first came to visit and we topped it with strawberries (or was it raspberries?) and whipped light cream and reveled in it. She mentioned to me not long ago how good it was and I had completely forgotten that I’d made this cake for her. I’m so glad she mentioned it because this cake is way too good to be forgotten! I got up this morning eager to look up the recipe and make it again since my sis brought me some gorgeous zucchini.

My sweet daughter just had some of this for breakfast, so I asked her if she would take the photos for me. I think I might let her do the photography more often. She has a good eye and a different style and perspective and it makes me so happy when she helps me with my cooking and blogging projects.

A little note about fat: it is true that the low-fat diet led to a lot of health problems. I don’t advocate cutting fat out of your diet (especially not if you’re going to replace it with sugar!) Include healthy fats like olive oil, cheese, nuts and avocados, but also include lots of fiber and grains, fruits and vegies and watch your total calorie intake. I like to reduce fats and sugar in baked goods and desserts because it reduces the calories, but then I also try to add whole grains and fiber to make treats that are truly health conscious, but still satisfy my desires for a decadent dessert.

123 Chocolate Zucchini Cake {Lowfat}

1,2,3 Chocolate Zucchini Cake {Lowfat}

Adapted from Food.com. I cut down the sugar, replaced some of the oil with yogurt and replaced some of the flour with whole wheat flour and flaxmeal.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour + 1/4 cup flaxmeal (or 1 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup lowfat or nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups grated zucchini

Directions:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients.
  2. Add the liquid ingredients and stir it all together.
  3. Spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray, pour in the batter and bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

123 Chocolate Zucchini Cake {Lowfat}

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckScrumptious SundaysFamily Fresh MealsManic Monday, Cast Party Wednesday, Thursday’s TreasuresTastetastic Thursday, Fit & Fabulous Fridays, and Foodie Friends Friday.


Raspberry Cream Brownie Truffles

Raspberry Cream Brownie Truffles

One of my girlfriends, when she tasted these truffles, told me (in a quiet voice so the “boys” wouldn’t hear) that these truffles are almost better than sex. I laughed, and she said, “I’m serious!” … since then, a couple of my other girlfriends have confirmed her opinion … and I’m quite curious to see what my male friend says about them. He better hurry though, or he is totally going to miss these truffles!

There is a story behind this recipe … I started out to make brownie bites for the party, baking them in my mini-muffin tin. The first batch I put raspberries in the middle of the brownies and I undercooked them. They tasted really good, but they were just too gooey to eat. I didn’t want to throw them out … what a waste of good chocolate that would be!

So I decided to make my brownies into truffles. And while I was thinking about how to do this, I was chatting with my friend online … he had just gone to the vending machine to find something to eat:

Me: so what did you find to eat?
Him: Peanuts and Coke.
Me: lol peanuts are good
Him: I needed some fluids and sugar. I was getting the shakes really bad.
Me: Shakes are not good …
… unless they’re chocolate
Him: Chocolate and raspberry

Something about him saying “chocolate and raspberry” in the context of a milkshake while I was in the midst of figuring out how I was going to make my chocolate/raspberry truffles made me think “raspberry cream” … and that’s how they got the raspberry cream center.

Raspberry Cream Brownie Truffles

Raspberry Cream Brownie Truffles

  • 1/3 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen … if you are using fresh, pack them into the cup a bit … thaw out the frozen ones before adding them)
  • 8 oz light cream cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon rose vodka or Chambord (raspberry liqueur) … (optional)
  • 2/3 cup good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)
  • 1 2/3 cups brownie “crumbs” (about 10 brownie bites) … mine wouldn’t exactly make crumbs. I just broke them into small pieces as best I could. I do recommend you undercook your brownies just a bit so they are a little soft and gooey for the truffles.  Here’s the brownie recipe I used.
  • 1 1/3 cups crushed chocolate graham cracker crumbs, ground into a fine powder in a handi chopper or food processor (if you can’t find chocolate graham crackers, just crush up some chocolate cookies)
  • For dipping: 2 high quality chocolate bars (4-oz. each) … (I used Ghirardelli)

Directions:

  1. First, make the raspberry cream: mix the raspberries with the cream cheese, honey, vanilla and liquor. Divide this creamy berry mixture in half, putting half of it in a container in the fridge for later.
  2. In a small microwave-safe bowl or double boiler, melt the chocolate chips. (Microwave on high for one minute, stir, then microwave 30 seconds, stir … repeat until you can stir out all the lumps of chocolate.)
  3. Mix the rest of the cream mixture with the melted chocolate chips, the brownie “crumbs”, and the chocolate graham cracker crumbs. Cover the bowl and set in the freezer for an hour or so to chill or in the fridge for several hours.
  4. When the chocolate “dough” is good and cold, it’s time to form the truffles! Choose a cookie sheet or other flat pan that will fit in your freezer. Take a small spoonful of the dough and shape it into a little cup in your hands. Put about 1/2 teaspoon of the raspberry cream mixture into the cup, then add a little more chocolate “dough” on top to cover the cream and form it into a ball shape. Set the ball on the pan and repeat until you’ve used up all the dough. Somehow I came out just about right … there was enough cream and chocolate to make a bunch of truffles (I’m not quite sure how many there were, though.) Don’t worry if the cream isn’t covered all the way or if some of the balls are bumpy. We’re going to dip these in chocolate anyway.
  5. Put the balls into the freezer and let them chill for several hours or overnight.
  6. When you are ready to dip your truffles, prepare an area to set them by laying out some waxed paper. I like to put them on a cookie sheet so it is easy to move them or stick them in the fridge if I need to (which is sometimes necessary on a hot day like it was the day I was making these!).
  7. Break the chocolate bars into pieces and melt in the microwave or over a double boiler, taking care to melt just till the chocolate is smooth and no longer. Dip each ball in the chocolate, rolling it around with a spoon to cover all the sides. I then stuck a toothpick in the ball and shook it a little (so there’s some chocolate left for the rest of the truffles!) and then put it on the waxed paper, sliding the toothpick out when quickly before the chocolate sets up. You can use the spoon to remove it too, or your fingers … no matter how you do it, it’s going to be a little messy (but hey, who doesn’t like to be covered in chocolate?).
  8. Once you’ve dipped all the truffles, let them sit until the chocolate is set. You may need to put them in the fridge to get the chocolate to set up … once it is set, transfer the truffles into a covered container to store in the fridge.

Raspberry Cream Brownie Truffles

This recipe was shared at Foodie FridaysScrumptious Sundays, and Made it by Monday.


Chocolate Chia Brownie Bites

Chocolate Chia Brownie Bites

It’s my one-year blog-iversary today. I am having a party in the real world tomorrow to celebrate. I’ll have a party in cyberspace too and I’ll invite all my foodie friends to bring wonderful things. There will be much revelry and champagne (with watermelon sorbet!) and good food shared.

I made these brownies for the party. I suppose you could say I made these brownies for both parties because this I will surely bring them to my virtual party too. I have to thank my sweet foodie friend Robin from Knead to Cook for the recipe for these … she made hers with raspberries. I started out doing that, too, but dropped the raspberries after the first batch because it just took too much time. I am a bit rushed this week …  (by the way that first batch turned out bad because I undercooked that batch … ooops! so I turned them into something else … another post coming soon about that … )

I also substituted some low fat cream cheese for some of the butter. I was running low on butter but had plenty of cream cheese, and besides, it just sounded good. And I used chocolate chia pudding in place of the eggs. I had some in my fridge that I needed to use up to make room for party food! Chia pudding does make a nice substitute for eggs. It even rises like eggs! Those little chia seeds are magic, I tell you.

A year ago I didn’t even know what chia seeds were … things have changed a LOT in a year. I’ve learned so much, met so many wonderful people, shared so many wonderful foods. It’s been a fantastic journey so far … and I plan to continue this journey for a long, long time. Because food is meant to be shared. It’s the most basic human connection.

Chocolate Chia Brownie Bites

Chocolate Chia Brownie Bites

Adapted from Knead to Cook

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter (or light butter spread … I actually used a mixture of both)
  • 4 oz light cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chocolate chia pudding (recipe here … or substitute 2 eggs and add a little extra cocoa + 1 teaspoon cinnamon)
  • 1/2 cup of non fat greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup of dark or Dutch processed cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli cocoa powder)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • if you want: fresh raspberries (make sure they are very dry, not wet … put one or two berries in the middle of each brownie bite)
  • for the top: mini chocolate chips (or other little candies or sprinkles)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line 3 mini muffin pans with mini-cupcake liners or spray them with cooking spray (or spray an 8×8 pan if you prefer). (I only have one mini muffin pan, so I ended up doing this 3 times.)
  2. In a mixing bowl, blend the sugar with the cream cheese and the butter until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla, chia pudding and greek yogurt.  Blend well.  Add the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and stir till everything is mixed together well.
  3. Pour the batter into your mini muffin pans, filling them about 2/3 – 3/4 full and sprinkle each one with a few mini chocolate chips. (If you are using raspberries, put a small spoonful of batter in the bottom, add a couple berries, then top with more batter.) Bake at 350 for 15 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the biggest one comes out mostly clean.

Chocolate Chia Brownie Bites

This recipe was shared at Foodie Friends FridayMy Sweet PartyFit & Fabulous Friday and Crazy Sweet Tuesday.


Chocolate Banana Pecan Baked Oatmeal

Chocolate Banana Pecan Baked Oatmeal

Since my first baked oatmeal turned out so good, I wanted to try another version. I meant to make this one banana pecan, but once I got into the kitchen, well, I couldn’t help but add chocolate. In the end, I’m glad I did … this oatmeal is SO deep dark chocolate decadent. I almost want to try making it again without the banana … or maybe use berries instead? Yeah, it’ll happen.

This could be breakfast or dessert. Mid-afternoon snack. After dinner treat. Whenever you eat it, it’s delightful.

Chocolate Banana Pecan Baked Oatmeal

Chocolate Banana Pecan Baked Oatmeal

  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1 cup (100g) old fashioned oats (not instant oats)
  • 1/3 cup (30g) pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup (60g) brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened quality dark cocoa powder (such as Ghirardelli)
  • 1 cup (250ml) milk
  • 2 Tablespoons of Chocolate Chia Pudding or 1 large egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon Frangelico (optional)
For the top:
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons pecans
  • 1/2 Tablespoon or so of raw (Turbinado) sugar
  • A few chocolate chips
  • A few banana slices

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 F. Spray a small casserole dish or 8×8 inch square baking dish with cooking spray and make a layer of banana slices on the bottom.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the oats, chopped pecans, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Sprinkle half the oat mixture over the bananas, then add another layer of bananas and cover with the remaining oats.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, chia pudding (or egg white), vanilla, and Frangelico. Pour this liquid mixture over the oats, trying to coat all the oats with liquid. Sprinkle the top with the toppings, then set in the oven.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes or until the dish has set. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Chocolate Banana Pecan Baked Oatmeal

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysCast Party Wednesday, Thursday’s TreasuresTastetastic Thursday, My Sweet Party and Fit & Fabulous Friday.


Thank you from Sumptuous Spoonfuls

Thank you from Sumptuous Spoonfuls

Yesterday my facebook page reached an important milestone and I just wanted to take a quick moment to say thank you to all of you who visit this blog, who like my page on facebook, who help me and inspire me and give me lots of comment love. Without your friendship, comments, and ideas, this blog would not be what it is today …

Looking back to last September when I blogged these black and tan brownies when I reached 700 likes on facebook, I can’t believe how far this little blog has taken me … I never in a million years dreamed that I would have 7,777 fans on facebook.

Black & Tan Brownies

We had a virtual party on facebook last night to celebrate … I created a Pinterest board so you can see all the wonderful things my foodie friends brought over to share.

Here are a few of the most popular dishes we feasted on last night.

These gorgeous Strawberries & Cream Brownies from ChinDeep.

Eggless Chocolate Cake from Mia’s Domain

Mia's Domain Eggless Chocolate Cake

and these Dutch Brownie Cream Cheese Shooters from Lark’s Country Heart

Dutch Brownie Cream Cheese Shooters

Go visit the Pinterest board to see the rest!


Chocolate Peanut Butter BonBons

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bonbons

Craving. Chocolate. Peanut butter. Nagging, nagging. Helllooooo. Chocolate. NEED Chocolate! Peanut butter. Mmm. Peanut butter. Nagging. Craving. Peanut Butter. Chocolate. CHOCOLATE!

Bonbons … Mmm. Bonbons. Yes. Chocolate. Peanut butter. Yes, yes, yes. Ah! Better.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bonbons

I feed my cravings with high quality ingredients and then I also try to lighten up my favorite decadent treats.  If they taste really good, I find I don’t need to eat large quantities of them. These are sort of like a Reese’s peanut butter cup, except they’re healthier.

Chocolate Peanut Butter BonBons

Heavily adapted from Baby Gizmo Blog. To reduce the fat, I used PB2 in place of half of the peanut butter, which is a powdered form of peanut butter with 85% of the fat removed. If you can’t find it at your local grocery store (in the health food section), you can order it online.

  • 1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (chocolate or regular … whatever you prefer/have on hand … I used a mix of both)
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal
  • 1/2 cup PB2 (chocolate or regular or a mix of both … I used half chocolate/half regular)
  • 1/4 cup fat free half & half
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup light cream cheese
  • For dipping: good quality dark chocolate and mini chocolate chips … I am not sure how much I used because I grabbed some bar chocolate then added chips to it, but I would guess it would be about 1 – 1 1/2 cups of dark chocolate chips plus a cup of mini chocolate chips
In a handi chopper or food processor, grind the graham crackers into fine crumbs. Pour them into a bowl and mix with the remaining ingredients. Form the mixture into balls (makes about 24 or so), set the balls on a tray and set in the freezer for an hour or longer.
Set the mini chocolate chips in a separate bowl, then melt some dark chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler. To melt it in the microwave, microwave on high for 1 minute, then stir, then microwave 30 seconds longer and stir again. If it’s still not melted, microwave another 30 seconds and stir.
Lay out a section of waxed paper on a baking pan to set the chocolates on once you’ve dipped them.
To dip the bonbons: roll a ball around in the melted chocolate with a spoon, then poke it with a toothpick and shake gently to remove some of the chocolate. Hold the ball by the toothpick over the bowl of mini-chops and sprinkle with mini chips, then set on the waxed paper. Let the bonbons sit until the chocolate is set (in the fridge, if needed). Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bonbons

This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth MondaysManic Mondays, Fit & Fabulous Fridays, Foodie Friends Friday and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Cinnamon Chocolate Chia Pudding

Cinnamon Chocolate Chia Pudding

So I have these chia seeds that I won from Lauren at Nutri-Savvy and Ruth’s Foods and I’ve heard they make a nice pudding … tapioca-like. Well, of course I had to try a chocolate version. I added a little cinnamon because I love the taste of cinnamon and chocolate together: the taste combination reminds me of Mexican hot chocolate.

The chia pudding does have a tapioca-like texture, except there is a slight crunch from the seeds. And it’s much easier to make than tapioca. I think I still prefer the texture of tapioca, but this is a nice, simple, and very healthy pudding. I thought it was really interesting how the little chia seeds seemed to absorb most of the chocolate. It’s so healthy you could eat it for breakfast and even pat yourself on the back for taking good care of your health. The chia seeds give it fiber, protein, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids (which are very good for your heart).

Cinnamon Chocolate Chia Pudding

Adapted from Oh She Glows

  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup fat free half & half + 3/4 cup milk (or use 1 1/4 cups milk of your choice)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey (or more to taste)
  • 2 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed (optional, but hey if you have a ripe banana sitting there that needs to be used, toss it in. I always seem to have some over-ripe bananas about that need to be used up)

In a bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients until the clumps are gone. Place in fridge for 1-2 hours (or overnight), until it’s thick. Add milk if you want the pudding a little thinner, or more chia seeds if you want it thicker (then chill again for a while …).

Serve it cold or heat it up in the microwave for a warm pudding.

Cinnamon Chocolate Chia Pudding

This recipe was shared at Scrumptious Sundays and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Mocha Frangelico Surprise Truffles

and How I (almost) Killed My Ninja Chopper

Mocha Frangelico Date Surprise Truffles

I had a funny naming conversation with my (male) friend about these truffles … it went something like this:

Me:  Hey what do you think I should name those truffles?
Him:  Bob … or Robert
Me: LOL, you’re funny
Him: Wait, I guess they really should be called Hazel … but that seems contradictory …should be a boy’s name
Me: because they have nuts?
Him: Yep

The conversation deteriorated from there … we ended up with this name: “Surprise, Hazel has Nuts!” … which I thought was funny good. But then I had a thought afterwards … perhaps they could be “Date with a Nutty Monk” Truffles? … they are a bit like a Nutty Monk (the cocktail) and they have dates in them … so I’m going to let you choose whichever name you like.

I bought the Frangelico (a hazelnut liqueur) several weeks ago, intending to make some truffles. But I didn’t make them. I don’t know what was stopping me, maybe some other things just got in the way. Maybe it’s just too summery out there to think about things like truffles.  Maybe I had other sources to satisfy my chocolate cravings. I’ve got to be in the right mood to make truffles.

But then my chocolate supplies ran low. My chocolate peanut butter granola bars dwindled, my Godiva truffles were gone, my Dove chocolates disappeared … there was some chocolate cake …  but really, when I need chocolate, I need something more intense than cake.

So I set about to making my truffles finally. But I went about this all wrong. If you want to put dates in your truffles, you should SOAK the dates first so they are soft. If you don’t soak them, they could gum up your chopper and stress the motor and make you truly believe it died. My poor little chopper died that day … it wouldn’t whir at all, wouldn’t do anything. It came back the next day and has worked ever since, but I don’t think I really want to do that to it again … poor thing.

Mocha Frangelico Date Surprise Truffles

Mocha Frangelico Surprise Truffles

a.k.a. “Surprise! Hazel has Nuts!” Truffles,  “Bob”, or “Date with a Nutty Monk” Truffles

This is a slightly revised method from mine, so that you don’t kill your chopper like I did.

  • 1/4 cup frangelico (hazelnut) liqueur
  • 1/4 cup Kahlua (or homemade coffee liqueur)
  • 14 large dates
  • 8 chocolate graham crackers, crushed into a fine powder (about 1 1/2 cups crumbs)
  • 4 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 2 squares dark chocolate, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon high quality vanilla extract
  • About 27 whole hazelnuts, toasted (You will need 1 for the center of each truffle … so the number of nuts you need depends on how big you make your truffles)
  • 3/4  – 1 cup good quality dark chocolate chips (or a dark chocolate bar, broken into pieces), for dipping
  • Chopped hazelnuts, for dusting the tops

Chop the dates into hunks and soak them in the liqueur for 15 minutes or until the dates have softened up. Then put the mixture into your handi chopper or food processor and process until the dates are a fine paste. Mix the date/liqueur mixture with the crushed crackers, cream cheese, dark chocolate, and vanilla until smooth. Chill the mixture in the fridge or freezer until it’s stiff enough to form into balls.

Spray your hands with cooking spray, then take a nut and a small spoonful of the mixture and shape the chocolatey goodness completely around the little nut. Set on a baking tray sprayed with cooking spray. When you have formed all the mixture into balls, set the tray in the freezer to chill for at least a couple hours.

Melt the dipping chocolate and take the chocolate nut balls out of the freezer. Set out a sheet of waxed paper on a flat surface. Using a spoon, swirl each little truffle around in the melted chocolate, then set on the waxed paper and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts. Let set in a cool place until the dipping chocolate has set. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.

Share with your sweetie or your friends … or take them on a date with a nutty monk. ;)

Mocha Frangelico Date Surprise Truffles

This recipe was shared at I’m Lovin’ It and Weekend Potluck.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Chia Smoothie

(a.k.a. “Healthy Muck”)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie ... Health-ified

So far, I have a total of one smoothie on this blog. One. I guess if you count this one, that’s two, but it’s really the same smoothie (this one is a health-ified version of the other one), so does that count? I think it’s still just one.

I do really love smoothies … but I realized a while ago that many smoothies are packed with enough calories for a meal for a petite little middle-aged person like me. I like to maximize the enjoyment of my limited number of calories, and I tend to drink fast … so smoothies are not normally such a good dietary choice for me. I would much rather have a salad I can munch on for a long time … it satisfies my palate much better than a quickly-downed smoothie. For my son on the other hand, he is well over six feet tall and still growing … he loves smoothies and I’m quite glad to oblige him.

Anyway, the ONE smoothie that I do have on my blog is the cream of the crop. It’s my son’s favorite smoothie … AND the only smoothie I would choose to have to replace a meal, and I would enjoy every drop of it. My dad invented it. We used to call it “Grampa smoothies” up until my son’s friend said it looks like muck. So it was re-named “Muck”.

Anyway, I got a couple new ingredients to try out. First I won a bag of chia seeds from Lauren at Nutri-Savvy and Ruth’s Foods. I had never used chia seeds before, but I’ve heard they are a nutritional powerhouse: packed with Omega-3s, plus protein and fiber, they are even better than flax seed or quinoa. AND then a friend was telling me how wonderful PB2 is. It’s powdered peanut butter with most of the fat removed. I used to think that sounded just totally gross, but after talking to my friend, I thought what they heck: I’ll give it a shot. And did you know they have a CHOCOLATE version of PB2? Who can resist chocolate and peanut butter? Only 45 calories in two tablespoons? Um, yeah. I’m in. I found it in the health food section at our grocery store, but if you can’t find it there, it is available on Amazon.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Chia Smoothie

I expected that my health-ified version wouldn’t really be as good. And really, I can’t say it has the same rich decadence as the original, but it was pretty darn close. The chia seeds added a slight bit of crunch … but they didn’t change the wonderful chocolate peanut butter banana taste. And the Chocolate PB2 did EXACTLY what I wanted it to do: gave it all the chocolate peanut butter taste without all the fat, sugar and calories of peanut butter and chocolate syrup.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Chia Smoothie (a.k.a., “Healthy Muck”)

  • 1 1/2 bananas, frozen
  • 1 cup lowfat milk (I used 1% milk, but you can use skim or I am sure almond or soy milk would work well too)
  • 2 Tablespoons Chocolate PB2
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put all ingredients in blender and blend till smooth. Pour into a nice tall glass (or two smaller ones) and enjoy! Drizzle with a tiny bit of real chocolate syrup if you like …

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Chia Smoothie

Chocolate-Peanut-Butter-Banana-Smoothie-Nutrition-Facts

Just for fun, I put it in the Calorie Count Recipe Analyzer on About.com and it gets an “A” for a Nutrition Grade!

With 10.6 grams of fiber and 17.1 grams of protein, not to mention 39% of your day’s needs for calcium and 26% of your vitamin C, it’s a fantastic way to start your day.

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous FridaysWeekend Potluck, Manic Mondays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, and Thursday’s Treasures.


Lisa’s Chocolate Mud Cake

Lisa's Chocolate Mud Cake

Last week, my foodie friend Lisa from Lisa’s Dinnertime Dish found this recipe for “Mud Cake” in her recipe box, so she made it and blogged about it.  It looked so good and moist and chocolatey … and easy. I needed a little chocolate in my life yesterday, so I decided to make Lisa’s cake. I mentioned “chocolate cake” to my friend as we were talking, and a short while later, there he was, pulling into my driveway … LOL. I didn’t have time to frost it because I had to run off to yoga, but both of the guys who tasted it agreed it was delicious without frosting. My son was a little angry with me for making it on the day he was leaving to stay with his dad … sorry buddy! I’m saving the recipe for you, though. We’ll make it again.

Lisa’s Chocolate Mud Cake

Recipe from Lisa’s Dinnertime Dish

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix all of the ingredients till smooth. Pour into a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan and bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Head on over to Lisa’s to get the recipe for the frosting! It looks super yummy …

Lisa's Chocolate Mud Cake

This recipe was shared at Thursday’s Treasures.


Chewy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Have you ever seen a recipe online and think “I really need to make that someday” … and then seen different versions of the same thing again like 30,000 times and have that same thought every time you see one … and then one day you FINALLY do just break down and make it, and you think to yourself, “my gosh that was SO easy … why did I wait so long to make that?”

That’s exactly what happened with these granola bars. They are so simple to make, I literally threw them together while I was in a conference call (and it was one of the kind of calls I had to actually participate in, not just listen …). And they’re SO good! These granola bars are way more flavorful and chocolatey than any of those store-bought granola bars. They are nice and chewy with a little bit of contrasting crunch from the nuts.

Chewy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Chewy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Adapted from Couponing & Cooking. After I mixed up the peanut butter and honey from her recipe, I thought it was way too sweet, so I added more peanut butter and then up’d the amount of oats too. Also, I cut down the amount of oil. I’m not sure it’s really necessary at all, but remember this was my first attempt at making granola bars so I didn’t want to stray TOO far from the recipe!

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 Tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 cup high quality chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (or other nuts)
  • 3 cups quick oats
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup finely chopped dried figs, apricots, or other dried fruit  (I used figs)

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan on medium heat, mix together peanut butter, oil and honey. Heat and stir until completely combined.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips and cocoa powder till the chips are melted and the mixture is smooth.
  3. Stir in the sunflower seeds, oats, and chopped fruit.
  4. Spray your pan(s) with cooking spray. I filled up 12 mini-muffin cups, then I pressed the rest into my 9×9 inch square pan. If you put this all into one 9×9-inch pan, they are going to be much thicker than your typical granola bar.
  5. Chill in the fridge for a while until they’ve firmed up, then cut into bars and enjoy! Store them in an airtight container in the fridge. (I think they’d probably be ok left out of the fridge too, but they will probably keep longer if you chill them.)

Chewy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Katherine Martinelli’s Fig Bloghop and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Chocolate Dessert Crostini with Banana & Walnut

Chocolate Dessert Crostini with Banana and Toasted Walnuts

I was in dire need of some sumptuous chocolate today … and didn’t have much time … so I whipped up some chocolate crostini  … so yes I confess, I did just make up a fancy name for “chocolate ganache frosting on toast” … but we’re talking about that dreamy whipped chocolate ganache I made for my daughter’s cake … oh my it is so good. Rich, decadent, creamy chocolate taste. And it’s really pretty healthy when you think about it … there are only 2 tablespoons of butter in the whole recipe. And a whole bunch of egg whites. Excellent source of protein!

You see, there was some ganache left after I frosted the cake and I just couldn’t let it go to waste … and this ganache really does elevate toast to fancy dessert status. Besides, having it on toast has to be healthier than cake, right? I added a little extra healthy goodness by adding bananas and walnuts. That counts, right?

Okay, so it’s not total health food, but it’s not THAT bad for you. And it satisfied my chocolate craving. That’s the important part. Because who knows what I would have eaten if I hadn’t made that nasty craving go away … see that’s the trick to staying skinny. Not avoiding your cravings, but satisfying them without over-indulging. To satisfy a craving, you need something that TASTES totally decadent. (It doesn’t have to actually BE totally decadent, but it has to TASTE totally decadent.) Don’t settle for anything less. That cheap chocolate will just leave you longing for more. And you know where THAT goes …

Chocolate Dessert Crostini with Banana and Toasted Walnuts

Chocolate Dessert Crostini with Banana and Toasted Walnuts

  • French bread, sliced thin
  • Whipped Chocolate Ganache (recipe here)
  • Banana slices
  • Toasted walnuts

Toast the french bread lightly, and spread each little toast with a good thick layer of ganache. Top with banana slices and a few toasted walnuts. Serve immediately. Seriously, this is so simple, but it works! The crunchy toast with the creamy decadent chocolate and then the sweet bananas and toasty walnuts on top … mmmm.

Chocolate Dessert Crostini with Banana and Toasted Walnuts

I really need to ditch the purple nail polish from the birthday party sleepover … it’s so distracting …

This recipe was shared at Sweet & Simple Sundays and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


4-layer Vanilla Cake with Whipped Chocolate Ganache

4-Layer Vanilla Birthday Cake with Whipped Chocolate Ganache

I am not a cake artist. My cakes rarely turn out that beautiful. I’m much better at styling a salad or baking up a pretty loaf of bread … but this year my girl and I were bound and determined to make a fantastic vanilla cake for her birthday party.

When South your Mouth posted a “Suck it Betty Crocker” Vanilla Cake, we both knew THIS was the right recipe. And it was! The cake was moist, tender, wonderful … I did it in 4 layers instead of three … the bottom two layers were thicker and I didn’t quite cook them enough. But nobody minded. Everyone said the cake was great. (Because it was.) I usually make an attempt at “healthifying” my recipes, but this one I left alone. It’s a BIRTHDAY cake after all. Once a year, I think my girl deserves a good un-healthy cake.

My daughter wanted chocolate frosting with her vanilla cake so I thought I would attempt a chocolate ganache. We are both choco-holics and it didn’t seem like a buttercream was going to give enough chocolate flavor for us. When I went to make the frosting, though, I had a bit of a dilemma. First, I had 5 egg whites that my girl thought I should use in the frosting. And secondly: without thinking, I had made all the half and half into vanilla ice cream mix. Ooops. So there I was, wondering just how to go about making the frosting.

Sooo I used the vanilla ice cream mix in the ganache, then whipped up some of the egg whites and folded them in. After a little time in the fridge, it turned into a luscious wonderful whipped chocolate ganache. I’m not normally a frosting person, but I could eat this stuff by the spoonful it was so good.

4-Layer Vanilla Birthday Cake with Whipped Chocolate Ganache

You see? My cakes always look a little messy … oh well! It tasted really good.

‘Suck It, Betty Crocker’ Vanilla Cake

Recipe from South Your Mouth

  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ¾ cup butter flavored shortening
  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup additional liquid*
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour pans. In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
  2.  In a small pitcher or glass, mix together milk, additional liquid and vanilla.  Set aside.
  3.  Using a mixer, cream shortening on medium speed until fluffy – about 1 minute.  Add sugar and continue to cream for 5 minutes.  Add eggs yolks one at a time, then honey. Beat well after each addition.
  4.  Add flour mixture and milk mixture to creamed mixture (alternating each, beginning and ending with flour mixture).
  5.  Pour batter into prepared pan(s)* and bake per the following or until the cake no longer jiggles in the pan and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. DO NOT OVER-BAKE.

8-9” Round: Fills three pans, or 4 thin layers.  Do not try to fit all of the batter into two.  Use about 1 3/4 cups batter per round. Bake 20-25 minutes. See South Your Mouth for other pan baking times and a beautiful vanilla frosting recipe that uses all the egg whites.

*Use any sweetened clear liquid such as cream soda (my favorite), white wine, light-colored fruit juice, coconut milk, lemon-lime soda or even sweat tea.

Lowfat Basic Vanilla Ice Cream Mix

This makes too much ice cream mix to fit in my ice cream maker, so I usually make half this much. It’s nice to have extra on hand. You can add all kinds of flavorings to this basic mix to make just about any flavor ice cream you crave. You’ll need some of this for the ganache frosting … although you may be able to get away with just using half & half instead.

  • 4 cups fat free half and half
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, beaten

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, mix half & half & sugar. Heat, stirring frequently, until small bubbles form at the edge of the pan.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg with a whisk or mixer until frothy.
  3. Slowly drizzle a stream of the hot cream mixture (about 1 cup of it) into the egg, whisking or beating constantly.
  4. Gradually add the egg mixture back into the remaining hot cream mixture in the saucepan, whisking as you go.
  5. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens slightly and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon–roughly 5 minutes. Add the vanilla.
  6. Put in a jar or covered container in the fridge till it’s cold, then freeze in an ice cream maker.

Whipped Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 12-oz. bag of quality semi-sweet (or dark) chocolate chips (we used Ghirardelli)
  • 1 cup basic vanilla ice cream mix (in liquid form)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup of egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • a pinch of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Put the chocolate chips in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Heat the ice cream mix with the butter till it’s very hot (but not boiling!) and the butter is melted. Pour the ice cream mix over the chocolate chips and stir stir stir until the chips have melted and it forms a nice creamy hot mess.
  3. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, then add the cream of tartar and beat a little longer so the peaks are REALLY stiff.
  4. Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mess until it’s all totally chocolatey and no white stuff remains. Mix in the powdered sugar and cinnamon.
  5. Put the frosting in a covered container in the fridge till it’s cool and thickened up to frosting consistency. I’m not exactly how long this was because I was so busy with the party, but I think it was about 2 hours.
  6. Frost your cake! It makes quite enough to frost a 4-layer cake with a bit to spare.

4-Layer Vanilla Birthday Cake with Whipped Chocolate Ganache

This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck, Everyday Mom’s MealsCrazy Sweet Tuesday and Trick or Treat Tuesdays.


Homemade Banana Nutella Granola

Homemade Chocolate Banana Nutella Granola

I am completely obsessed with homemade granola. It’s so marvelous to munch on … to have for breakfast in a bowl with milk. To make into a parfait. To sprinkle on ice cream. It’s nothing like that flat-tasting store-bought stuff that to me just tastes like sugar and cardboard. Homemade granola is like 10,000 levels better than that. It’s delicious and decadent and nutty.

And the best part is … it’s easy to make.

This granola has been floating around in my head for a while … ever since I saw this “Granola Fit for a King” recipe, I wanted to make something like it. But I wanted more chocolate. And what’s more chocolate than peanut butter? NUTELLA! Oh yeah. That’s the ticket.

Homemade Chocolate Banana Nutella Granola

Banana Nutella Granola

Adapted from Oh Nuts! Sweet & Crunchy Talk

  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup flax
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 2 cups mixed nuts (I used 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, 1/2 cup pecan pieces, 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, 2/3 cup peanuts)
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the oats, flax, wheat bran and nuts. Set aside
  2. In a separate small bowl, mash the banana very well until it’s smooth (not lumpy). Put the banana in a small saucepan with the maple syrup, Nutella, cinnamon, sea salt and cocoa powder. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is hot and bubbly. Stir in the honey and remove from heat.
  3. Pour the hot sweet chocolatey banana Nutella mixture over the nutty oat mixture in the bowl. Stir it all up until it’s well mixed.
  4. Spread all this wonderful stuff out into a thin layer on a large jellyroll pan (or other big flat baking pan with an edge to it). Set it in the oven and bake for about an hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. It should be browned to a lovely chocolate brown color and smelling fantastic. You can taste a little sample to see if it’s crunchy enough. If it’s not, bake it a little longer.
  5. This is the hard part. Let the granola cool COMPLETELY before stirring in the mini chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container. It will keep for about a month or so. But it is not likely to last that long …

Homemade Chocolate Banana Nutella Granola

This recipe was shared at Meatless Mondays.


Elvis’ Favorite Muffins

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, & Banana Muffins … with a Peanut Butter Filling

Elvis' Favorite Muffins (Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Banana with a Peanut Butter filling)

Okay, Elvis never really tried these muffins. But he should have! He would have loved them.

But then again, who wouldn’t love chocolate banana muffins with a peanut butter filling? Maybe my mother. She’s not into chocolate. I will never ever in a million years understand that. (But I still love you, Mom!)

Elvis' Favorite Muffins (Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Banana, with a PB filling)

Elvis’ Favorite Muffins

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, & Banana … with a Peanut Butter Filling

Makes 18 muffins

  • 3 mashed ripe bananas (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup non-fat greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup lowfat milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder (add more or less, depending on how chocolatey you want your muffins)
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Filling:
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the bananas, sugar, yogurt, canola oil, egg and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is thoroughly mixed.
  4. Mix the filling ingredients together. Add a little more PB or sugar according to your taste.
  5. Spray your muffin pans with cooking spray. Spoon a spoonful of batter into the bottom of each muffin pan to cover the bottom of the muffin. Top with a small spoonful (about a teaspoon) of the peanut butter filling, then cover the filling up with another spoonful of the chocolate batter.
  6. Bake at 325° for about 20 – 25 minutes or until the muffins spring back when touched.

Elvis' Favorite Muffins ... Chocolate & Banana Muffins with a Peanut Butter Filling

Now … what should I do with these other three bananas? Hmm …

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic ThursdaysFull Plate Thursdays and Weekend Potluck.


Double Chocolate Banana-Berry Bites

Double Chocolate Banana Berry Bites

This is my favorite banana bread recipe, chocolatized. With strawberries. My daughter didn’t want me to go there. But the chocolate fiend in me just couldn’t help it. I was so intrigued with making a chocolate strawberry muffin-ette … I just HAD to have them.

Double Chocolate Banana Berry Bites

I made my daughter some of our regular chocolate chip banana bread so she would be happy too. She wants to use the berries in crepes. I wonder if they’ll last that long … I’m guessing not … strawberries don’t last very long at our house.

Double Chocolate Banana Berry Bites

Double Chocolate Banana-Berry Bites

Adapted from Cooking Light

  • 3 mashed ripe bananas (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vanilla non-fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder (add more or less, depending on how chocolatey you want your muffin-ettes)
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup quality chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli semi-sweet)
  • Strawberries, cleaned, tops cut off and halved or quartered
  • Raw sugar, for sprinkling the tops
  • Cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the bananas, sugar, yogurt, canola oil, egg and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is thoroughly mixed. Stir in the chocolate chips, reserving a few for the tops of your little muffin-lings. If you want, you could add some chunks of strawberry to the batter.
  4. Spoon the batter into mini-muffin pans coated with cooking spray. Top each muffin with a berry piece, sprinkle whatever batter is still “exposed” with a bit of raw sugar, and add a couple chocolate chips.
  5. Bake at 325° until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 – 25 minutes.

Double Chocolate Banana Berry Bites

(And oh by the way, if you want some dang good banana bread that’s NOT chocolatized or berrified, just leave out the cocoa powder and the strawberries and bake in a 9×5 inch bread loaf pan for about 1 hr 15 min.)

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Click here to see all the other wonderful #berrylove posts!

This post was also shared at Thursday’s TreasuresWeekend Potluck, Everyday Mom’s Meals, Trick or Treat Tuesdays and  Totally Tasty Tuesdays and A Crafty Cook’s April Link Party.


Light & Luscious Mocha Nutella Mousse

Light & Luscious Mocha Nutella  Mousse

It’s National Chocolate Mousse Day today, so of course I had to make some chocolate mousse!

I lightened it up by using nonfat Greek yogurt and an egg white in place of the heavy cream, but it still tastes deliciously decadent, with deep dark undertones of Kahlua and hazelnut.

Light & Luscious Mocha Nutella  Mousse

Light & Luscious Mocha Nutella Mousse

Makes 2 servings

  • 2 Tablespoons Kahlua
  • 2 teaspoons good quality dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the Kahlua, cocoa powder, Nutella, yogurt and vanilla until it’s smooth.
  2. In a separate small bowl, beat the egg white at medium or high till soft peaks form, then sprinkle the cream of tartar on while still beating until the peaks are firm. Gently fold the beaten egg white into the chocolate mixture.
  3. Cover and place in the fridge for a couple hours until it’s firmed up to the desired consistency.
I garnished it with a little dollop of plain Greek yogurt, a drizzle of chocolate syrup and a hazelnut.

Light & Luscious Mocha Nutella  Mousse

I thought I ought to include the nutrition information … this is from Calorie Count on About.com

Nutrition facts for Light & Luscious Mocha Nutella Mousse

This recipe was shared at Trick or Treat TuesdaysCast Party WednesdaysFull Plate ThursdaysTastetastic Thursdays, and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


5-minute Dark Chocolate Red Wine Mug Cake

Post #4 of 5 in my Five Favorite Things for my Five Thousand Foodie Friends series …

Dark Chocolate Red Wine Mug Cake

#1 was salad. #2 was dip. #3 was bread. and #4 is … duh! CHOCOLATE! of course! … and wine … two of my greatest loves. Because red wine and chocolate are always there for you. They will be yours and yours alone … unless you choose to share them.

Whether you want to share this decadent cake is totally up to you … What I love about this cake is this: it has WINE in it! That alone is enough, but then it’s also dark, seductive, decadent and VERY chocolate. And it’s done in just a few minutes.

It goes great with red wine. It’s big enough to share, but small enough so you don’t have a huge chocolate cake hanging around for days, tempting you. … or maybe you want to double the recipe and make one for you, one for your friend? It kinda makes sense because one mug uses about 1/2 an egg, so to make two mugs, you’d just use a whole egg, then you really wouldn’t have to bother with whisking it.

Dark Chocolate Red Wine Mug Cake

Dark Chocolate Red Wine Mug Cake

  • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons whisked egg (about half of a large egg)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine (I used Pinot Noir … but I think you could use whatever red wine you love)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 squares (1 oz.) 70% dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons good quality dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
  2. Put the butter in a microwaveable mug, break up the chocolate over it, then microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir well. If the chocolate isn’t melted yet, microwave for another 30 seconds.
  3. Add the yogurt, red wine, and vanilla to the mug and stir, then add the egg and stir that in well too.
  4. Add the wet chocolatey mixture to the dry ingredients in the bowl and stir till everything is well mixed.
  5. Now pick a good-sized mug to cook this baby in, spray it with cooking spray, and dump the batter in. Top with chocolate chips. Or you could mix the chips into the batter, whatever you prefer. I put mine on top.
  6. Microwave for 3 to 4 minutes on high or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. If you’re making two, microwave the first mug, then start the second one. The cake will puff up while it’s cooking, then fall when you take it out of the microwave. Don’t worry, that’s normal.

Dark Chocolate Red Wine Mug Cake

It’s amazing just like this, but if you want to make it completely decadent, you could top this cake with berries or nuts or ice cream or whipped cream … with a drizzle of hot fudge sauce? Mmm …

This recipe was shared at Fabulous FridaysSuccessful SaturdayStrut your Stuff Saturdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays,  Midweek Fiesta, and Gooseberry Patch Pies & Cakes.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

I’ve seen a bunch of chocolate granola in the foodie world lately and oh I ached to do one myself. Because I really really love eating chocolate for breakfast.

I looked at all their recipes and they were all different. Each foodie did their own take on chocolatizing granola, and each one looked perfectly marvelous.

So naturally, I did my own take on it. It’s a little of this recipe, a little of that one, a little of my own inspiration.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

Dry ingredients:

  • 4 cups of old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup of dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
Wet ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 – 4 Tablespoons maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 2 – 4 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut buttter
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
Add-ins:
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the wet ingredients over medium-low heat, stirring until well mixed and nicely warmed.
  3. Combine the wet mixture with the dry mixture until completely incorporated and everything is evenly mixed.
  4. Spread the granola out onto a large jellyroll pan. Bake for about an hour, stirring every 10 – 15 minutes until the granola is a deep golden brown.
  5. Remove from oven. Cool completely. Mix in the chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container. Keeps up to one month.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckReal Housewives Recipe Roundup, and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.


Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

I was having a serious chocolate craving and nothing I had on hand was going to cut it. I was tempted to make something like a chocolate pudding cake until I saw this recipe from Rock Recipes for Chocolate Pecan Banana Bread. I couldn’t help but fiddle with the recipe, though. I reduced the fat, increased the amount of cocoa, reduced the sugar and then added honey and Nutella and substituted hazelnuts for the pecans (to go with the Nutella!).

It was just what I needed to satisfy that intense chocolate craving. Yes this is DARK, decadent chocolate. My favorite. Mmmm.

Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

Adapted from Rock Recipes

Wet ingredients:

  • 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons applesauce
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract

Dry ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons dark cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Extras:

  • 1/2 cup good quality chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • Raw sugar, extra chocolate chips, and/or toasted chopped nuts (for topping)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mash the bananas with a fork, then add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix well.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.
  4. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and pour the batter into the pan. Sprinkle with raw sugar, toasted chopped nuts, and chocolate chips, if desired.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckMidnight Maniac Meatless MondaysTuesday Talent Shows, and Katherine Martinelli’s Bread Bloghop.


Heavenly Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Brownies

Heavenly Chocolate Brownies with Pretzels & Caramel

It was Thursday, and every Thursday I have to pick up my daughter from school and take her to dance lessons. She is always STARVING right after school because they feed her lunch very early in the day, so I have to bring her a snack. Usually I try to make it healthy, and yes, I did bring her an apple and some corned venison, but I thought brownies would be a nice treat to top it all off.

There’s more to this story: for Christmas, my kids both got Ghirardelli milk chocolates with caramel filling in their stockings. Now they love milk chocolate – and they love caramel, but for some reason, they are not so fond of the caramel filled chocolates. So my daughter and I came up with this idea to break up the caramel chocolates and put them over brownies with some pretzels. We have been meaning to do this … but didn’t have a recipe for brownies that we liked and haven’t really had time … well, you know how life goes sometimes. You get so busy with things that little projects like this get swept to the wayside.

So I found a recipe for brownies from the Southern Lady Cooks and thought it was time to try out our idea.

Heavenly Chocolate Brownies with Pretzels & Caramel

Heavenly Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Brownies

Adapted from the Southern Lady Cooks.

I added the chocolates before I baked them, then put the pretzels on top, but they completely melted into oblivion. I think the right way to do this is to put the pretzels on before you bake the brownies, then right after you take the brownies out of the oven, sprinkle with chopped caramel-filled chocolates (or caramel bits and chocolate chips) and a bit of sea salt. That’s my plan for next time I make these, anyway.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter or margarine or 12 tablespoons, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Broken pretzel bits
  • 5 squares of Ghirardelli caramel-filled milk chocolates, chopped
  • Coarse sea salt

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar and salt. Add the eggs, butter, and vanilla. Mix well with a spoon. Pour into a sprayed 8 x 8 inch baking dish and spread out evenly. Sprinkle pretzel bits over the top. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven 35 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Right after you take them out of the oven, sprinkle the chopped chocolates over top so that they melt onto the brownies and sprinkle with a bit of coarse sea salt. Let the brownies cool a bit before you try to cut them. Makes 9 to 12 brownies depending on size you cut them.

Part 2: the brownie saga continues …

Of course, after I made the brownies for my daughter, then my SON wanted brownies. But he didn’t want any of that caramel or pretzel stuff on HIS brownies.

So I asked my foodie friends on facebook what their favorite brownie recipe is and wow did I get a great list of brownie recipes! Here’s the list: I made the Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter for him.

Here’s a shot of the boy’s browned butter brownies. Really, I am not sure which recipe I like better … but my daughter and I really really really love the pretzels and caramel chocolates on top. I was worried the pretzels would get soggy, but they don’t! They stay nice and crunchy (for a day or two). The boy can have his plain chocolate brownies. We’ll do the pretzel thing.

Browned Butter Cocoa Brownies

This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s Meals and Thursday’s Treasures.


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