Sunday, September 14, 2014

Chocolate Hazelnut Bites

And one more "bite" recipe for good measure...  These are probably my all time favorite of all the fruit and nut bites I have made.  Can't stop, won't stop... eating them.  (Does anyone else constantly have that lyric from the new Taylor Swift song running through their head???)  Enjoy!


Chocolate Hazelnut Bites


12 medjool dates, soaked in hot water for about 5 minutes
1 c hazelnuts (Skins can be on! I get mine at Trader Joe's)
8 T cocoa
7 T unsweetened shredded coconut

After soaking dates, process them in a food processor until they start to break down and form a paste.  Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to process until everything comes together and can be easily rolled into a ball.  As you can tell from the picture, I don't process them until the nuts are completely broken down- I leave them a little chunky.  Process longer for smoother bites and shorter for chunkier ones.  Roll into balls and store in the freezer.  They are awesome straight from the freezer!

Pumpkin Bites

My arsenal of dried fruit and nut "bites" is growing rapidly, as I find that these naturally sweetened bite size treats are my favorite thing to snack on.  Today I have a recipe inspired by a pumpkin bar created by a friend at my CrossFit gym.  These little balls have all the flavors of fall and are a nutritious treat for any time of day.  

Pumpkin Bites


10 medjool dates, soaked in hot water (*I microwave about a cup of water and then let the dates soak in it for about 5 minutes)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c pumpkin puree
1 c pumpkin seeds
1/2 c pecans
1/4 c flax
1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut 
1/2 c golden raisins

After soaking the dates, process them in a food processor until they are mostly broken down and have started to form a paste.  Then add the rest of ingredients and process until the ingredients come together and can be easily formed into a ball (if you want them less "chunky" process longer, and for more chunky process for a shorter time).  Roll into 1 inch balls.  I store these in the freezer and they can be eaten straight out of the freezer!  Enjoy!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad


This salad is yummy.  I know because I ate it for lunch (and dinner) yesterday!  A friend at school made this for a potluck at the end of the school year, and I have made it several times this summer.  It's a great cold summer salad that fits in perfectly at any barbecue or potluck!  I think what I love most about it are the contrasting textures and flavors- the crunchy red onions and cucumber contrast nicely with the creamy chickpeas and feta cheese.  The refreshing and sweet cucumber and tomato pair well with the salty feta and olives.  The Greek dressing brings it all together nicely and gives just enough lemon and oregano flavor without being overpowering. Visit Closet Cooking for the recipe!  



Samoa Bars

I made these bars over the weekend and they were a hit with my friends!  If you are a coconut fan, you will LOVE these rich, dense, date-sweetened, creamy, gooey, coconut-filled bars!  The only added sugar comes from the thin layer of chocolate on top, so you can feel good about eating these treats that have lots of healthy fat and fiber.  I just wouldn't go eating the whole pan... make these to share with your friends so they're not sitting around your house tempting you, because I guarantee they will be calling out your name from the fridge!

I found the original recipe on the fantastic food blog Eat Good 4 Life.  Check it out!  



No Bake Samoa Bars

Slightly adapted from Eat Good 4 Life

Crust
1/2 c dry roasted macadamia nuts
1 1/2 c almond meal
1 c unsweetened, shredded coconut
4 dates
1 T coconut oil (add more if the "dough" seems too dry)


Filling
12 medjool dates (about 1 1/2 cups), soaked in hot water
1/3 c full fat canned coconut milk
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 c unsweetened, shredded coconut

Topping
1 c enjoy life chocolate chips

1. Heat up about 1 1/2 cups of water in the microwave.  Remove the pits from the 12 dates for the filling and submerge them in the water, letting them soak while you make the crust.
2. In the food processor, process the crust ingredients until well combined.  Add more coconut oil if it doesn't seem to be coming together.  Press firmly into the bottom of an 8x8 in. pan.  Put the pan in the freezer while you make the filling.
3. No need to clean out the food processor here (just scrape the crust out with a spatula the best you can!).  Put the soaked dates in the food processor and process until they form a paste.  Then add in the coconut milk and process until smooth.  Next, add the salt and coconut and process briefly til everything is incorporated together.
4. Take your pan out of the freezer and spread the filling over the crust, creating a smooth layer.  Put the pan back in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
5. After 15 minutes, melt your chocolate chips in the microwave (I melt them on 50% power for 1 min, followed by 30 sec intervals, stirring each time I take them out until they are melted).  Spread the chocolate layer on top of the filling.  

6. Refrigerate the bars for several hours, then use a very sharp knife to cut them into pieces!  I cut mine into 32 small bars, which worked perfectly because these are very rich!  Store in the refrigerator.
 


Sunday, July 13, 2014

"Pasta" Carbonara


Carbonara is a pasta dish made with bacon or ham, egg, and cream.  This version is a veggie-filled take on the traditional pasta carbonara, with several substitutions that make it very nutritious and incredibly delicious.  To be honest, it is actually very reminiscent of fried rice!  I'm pretty sure it's the peas and egg that give it that taste.  Either way, this is a unique dish that would be great served for breakfast, as a non meat-heavy main dish, or as a chicken side dish.  

"Pasta" Carbonara


1/2-3/4 lb. of bacon, cut into small pieces
2 candy onions (very small onions), minced (about 1/2 c onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups frozen peas
freshly ground pepper
6 egg yolks (I used yolks because I made biscuits with the whites the day before, but you could use 3-4 whole eggs instead!)
3 large zucchini or squash, spiralized

Cut bacon into small pieces and saute in a large dutch oven or high sided pot.  Once the bacon is crispy, remove the pieces but leave the fat in the pot.  Add the onion, cooking until soft, then add garlic and cook until fragrant. (This dish is very much based on feel- I don't have exact cooking times or temperatures, you just have to go by the look of the ingredients!)  Then add peas and saute until the peas are hot.  Sprinkle a generous amount of pepper on top of the peas.  Pour the egg yolks on top of the peas and stir everything until the egg yolks no longer look wet.  Then add the zucchini/squash noodles, and add the bacon back in as well.  Cook, stirring occassionally, until the "noodles" are soft.  For us, this made about 4 servings!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Green Chocolate Protein Smoothie

Ok here's one more smoothie recipe... I would have to say this is my current favorite.  I crave it every morning!  It is sweet, chocolately, and just delicious. 



Green Chocolate Protein Smoothie


1 frozen banana (I cut ripe bananas in half and freeze them for smoothie making)
2 large handfuls spinach
1 scoop (14 g) chocolate whey protein (I use Tera's Whey)
3/4-1 cup water or nut milk
1 T ground flaxseed meal
2-3 ice cubes

Process in blender until smooth.  Drink up!

Tropical Green Protein Smoothie

Another smoothie for your drinking pleasure!  This one is tropical and very refreshing.  I just can't get enough of smoothies this summer...



Tropical Green Protein Smoothie


1 frozen banana (I cut ripe bananas in half and store them in the freezer for smoothie making)
1/2-1 c frozen mixed tropical fruit (I like mango and pineapple!)
1/2 avocado
1 scoop (14 g) unflavored whey protein (or vanilla whey would be good too!)
2 huge handfuls spinach or kale
3/4-1 c water or nut milk (for a super filling and thick smoothie, you could even use canned coconut milk)
3-4 ice cubes

Place all ingredients in large blender and process until smooth.  This is too much for a magic bullet, so you'll need a full size blender to process all of the ingredients.  Makes 1 large serving.