“Ice Cream” for One

91 degrees today.  Humid.  Hot.  Sweaty.  Need to cool off.  Started out the day with a green smoothie and ended the day with delicious almond butter “ice cream”.  The Nutribullet comes to the rescue again.  I can’t believe this delicious treat consists of only 3 wonderful ingredients.  So easy and very satisfying after tonight’s gym class.

Almond Butter “Ice Cream”

Serves 1

  • 1 banana, cut into 1″ pieces, frozen
  • 1 tablespoon, almond butter (or any nut butter of your choice)
  • 2 oz. almond milk

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  1. Place all ingredients into Nutribullet.  Blend until you achieve a smooth, creamy consistency.
  2. Enjoy!  I suppose you can place in an airtight container and freeze for a later date, but why wouldn’t you want to consume ALL OF THIS right now?!

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There’s Always Room for Dessert

We canceled cable TV about a week ago.  We realized that 1) we were watching a lot of shows that we could either stream online for a very low cost (Netflix, Hulu Plus) or for free and 2) we could cut our monthly bill by more than 50%.  I was doing okay without it during the week since my schedule is so busy anyway: work, come home and cook dinner, eat, relax, shower, bed.  Repeat Mon thru Fri.  I was out and about yesterday, so no big deal either.  But today, we did our weekly cleaning around the house and then I was bored.  I didn’t know what to do.  It was super windy (and cold) outside today, so I was feeling lazy and didn’t feel like doing anything or going anywhere.  And I didn’t want to go shopping because I didn’t want to spend money!  And then, no cable TV, which means no playing catch up on the recorded shows on the DVR.  So, long story short, now that we don’t have cable, I’ve been spending that much more time in the  kitchen.

I had a box of ripe strawberries sitting in the fridge.  Why not morph them into chocolate covered strawberries with some fantastic light whipped cream from Stew Leonard’s?!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Makes 16

Ingredients

  •  16 strawberries
  • 12 oz of 70% cacao chocolate, chopped
  1. Wash strawberries, place in an airtight container and freeze for an hour.
  2. In a double boiler, melt the chopped chocolate pieces.  I do not own a double boiler, so I filled a small pot, about 1/4 full with water.  I added the chopped chocolate pieces to a glass mixing bowl.  Once the water begins to boil, place the glass mixing bowl on top and continue to stir the chocolate pieces until melted.  Note that the glass mixing bowl should not touch the boiling water in the pot.  Here’s a picture of my “double boiler” – works quite well!DSC02340
  3. When the chocolate has melted, dip the strawberries one by and one and coat evenly.  Place on wax paper and let cool for 10 minutes.  Place in fridge to save for later, or serve with a side of light whipped cream.  Yum!

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Warning: This Post Contains a lot of Red and Pink.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!!

I rushed home from work tonight to get home and prepare dinner.  I had a lot to do.  On the menu for tonight was grilled lamb chops and mashed cauliflower.  I also wanted to be ambitious and make a nice Valentine’s day dessert.  I bought these cake pans from Target last year (at like 90% off!) after Valentine’s day.  I was excited to try it out.

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But, as you can see from the photos below, I’m really not a baker… I belong in the kitchen, but only to prepare savory dishes.  Tonight’s dessert is brought you by Ms. Betty Crocker herself!  I love using pre-made cake/cookie mix.  It’s SO easy!  It’s also nice to use some alternative ingredients to lower the amount of calories. Next time, try replacing the amount of oil with plain greek yogurt or applesauce.  And instead of using the whole egg, just use the egg whites!

Here’s a photo of the almost ready red velvet cakes in the oven…. (oops…)

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Once done, remove from cake molds and let cool.  Fill the cavities with icing (I used whipped cream because I wanted it to be a lighter dish, but it’s not as dense as icing, so it’s kind of sinking…), stack together, slice, and enjoy!

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Valentine’s Day Treat for your Boo!

Valentine’s Day; you either love it or hate it.

I love it.

Yeah, yeah, yeah… go ahead… Tell me how “if you really love someone, you should show them EVERYDAY” or how it’s such a “waste of money”.  Though I do agree that you should show your love everyday (which can be as simple as an “I love you”), I do not agree on how it’s a waste of money.  You see, people who go out and wine and dine with their loves are just not being very smart.  Save those for the nights for more memorable occasions… an anniversary, a birthday, a celebration of an important milestone in your life.  Instead, spend your money wisely this Valentine’s day by preparing a fresh meal for your boo followed by some delicious and unique treats.

Here’s an easy and unique treat to make the day before – no boring box of chocolates here!

Chocolate Covered Bacon

Makes 8 pieces

Ingredients

  • 4 strips of uncured bacon
  • 8 oz of 70% cacao chocolate, chopped
  1. In a large skillet over high heat, cook the strips of bacon until nice and crispy.  Remove from heat.
  2. In a double boiler, melt the chopped chocolate pieces.  I do not own a double boiler, so I filled a small pot, about 1/4 full with water.  I added the chopped chocolate pieces to a glass mixing bowl.  Once the water begins to boil, place the glass mixing bowl on top and continue to stir the chocolate pieces until melted.  Note that the glass mixing bowl should not touch the boiling water in the pot.
  3. While the chocolate is melting, break the bacon strips in half (so, from the 4 strips, you now have 8 pieces).
  4. When the chocolate has melted, dip the bacon strips and coat evenly.  Place on wax paper and let cool for 10 minutes.

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Blizzard Boredom = Endless Kitchen Creations

Need to satisfy that sweet tooth, but what to make?

During blizzard Nemo yesterday, I made Paleo Banana Walnut and Chocolate Chip bread and tried my first attempt at making Paleo brownies.  The Paleo brownies were kind of bizarre, hence, no post about that today… Will need to try several other recipes to get it right, so more to come on that one…

I glanced over and saw 4 fairly ripe bananas chillin’ in the fruit bowl (I really should stop buying them in bulk since I’m the only one that eats them!).  I remembered I had Ghiradelli 70% cacao squares from the holidays in the pantry.  I’ve also been obsessed with sliced almonds.  **Insert lightbulb image here** FROZEN BANANAS DIPPED IN DARK CHOCOLATE AND CRUSHED ALMONDS!

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Chocolate and Almond Dipped Frozen Bananas

Ingredients

  • 4 medium ripe bananas, peeled and cut in half
  • 8 wooden popsicle sticks
  • 16 oz of 70% cacao chocolate, chopped
  • 8 oz almonds, crushed
  • Wax paper
  1. Insert popsicle stick into each banana half (I didn’t have popsicle sticks handy, but recommend since it makes the dipping process much easier!)
  2. Place peeled bananas in a container and freeze for 2 hours.
  3. In a double boiler, melt the chopped chocolate pieces.  I do not own a double boiler, so I filled a small pot, about 1/4 full with water.  I added the chopped chocolate pieces to a glass mixing bowl.  Once the water begins to boil, place the glass mixing bowl on top and continue to stir the chocolate pieces until melted.  Note that the glass mixing bowl should not touch the boiling water in the pot.
  4. While the chocolate is melting, place crushed almonds on a plate and set aside.
  5. When the chocolate has melted, dip the bananas and coat evenly.  Then roll in the crushed almonds.  Place on wax paper and let cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Place bananas in an airtight container and freeze until ready to eat!

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Who doesn’t love ice cream?

I went to Trader Joe’s this weekend to stock up on some Paleo (and non Paleo) goodies.  I freakin’ love Trader Joe’s.  I love going to the one in Fairfield – the people who work there are awesome (as they are in every TJ’s I’ve been to), the store is clean, and they recently expanded so the aisles are very wide.  This is super important because every time I go, even though I go on a weekly basis, I feel like a little kid in a candy store.  I’m in awe and need to walk slowly down the aisles to soak in all of the amazing products that they have to offer.

I bought a bunch of new items to cook with and more importantly, new snacks to try.  After a kick ass hot vinyasa yoga class tonight at Fairfield Hot Yoga, I came home, took a long and relaxing shower and treated myself to a scoop of chocolate coconut ice cream. So…. this isn’t truly Paleo because it’s got some weird ingredients (Dextrose monohydrate, guar gum, and carragenan to name a few…) and has sugar, but man, this ice cream was amazing!!!!!  This ice cream is also soy free, dairy free, gluten free, and a vegan product.  I’ve come across many Paleo coconut ice cream recipes out there, but until I get an ice cream maker, this Trader Joe’s treat will give me that quick fix.  This little pint of goodness costs $3.49.

A little taste of Europe

There are certain foods in life that I cannot give up completely… ice cream, chocolate, NUTELLA (just to name a few). Yes, I know these items are highly processed and loaded with sugar, but every once in awhile is okay for me.  There is a recipe for Paleo ice cream which I’ll try someday in the future, but for now, I love a bite of the real stuff every now and then.

So back to Nutella.  I’m not sure when this addiction started.  Maybe it was when my aunt and her sons visited from Germany for the first time when I was young.  They bought a jar of Nutella from our local grocery store as a little reminder of home.  The first taste of this amazing elixir was divine.  Chocolate.  Hazelnuts.  Chocolate.  More chocolate.  I was hooked.

My younger sis, Tiffany, who’s in college right now, keeps on sending me pictures of her meals at school (dining hall food has really evolved… the food looks edible nowadays, haha).  I guess there’s a dining hall that does Crepe night every Thursday and she has sent a picture for the past two Thursdays…. Delicious crepes with sweet fruit fillings and topped with whipped cream.  This kicked in my first craving for crepes and well, who doesn’t love a Nutella filled crepe?! (This recipe below is obviously not Paleo)

I thought this was pretty good, though I’ll never know until I try the real thing in France (nudge nudge to Bjorn).

Crepe with Nutella and banana filling

Ingredients

Crepe Batter

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/8 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Butter

Filling

  • Nutella
  • 1 banana, sliced
  1. Whisk the egg, milk, water, and vanilla together in a bowl.  Add the flour and sugar and whisk to combine. Cover and place the batter in the fridge for an hour.
  2. In a crepe pan (or skillet) over medium to high heat, add some butter and swirl around.  Once the pan is heated, add the batter and swirl the pan around to create a thin layer of batter on the pan.  Cook for about 30 seconds and then flip to the other side for another 30 seconds.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Spread a nice coating of Nutella and top with sliced bananas.  Fold the crepe in half and then into fourths.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  5. Use the rest of the batter to make some crepes for your friends and family! (or for yourself, hehe!)

Banana bread… Paleo style

The crisp autumn air just makes me want some warm, comforting, banana bread.  So warm and comforting banana bread I shall have!  Here’s a very simple recipe for Paleo friendly banana bread.  Enjoy with a hot cup of tea before you start your day.

Bjorn says: “Mmm, this is actually pretty good!”

Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 4 tablespoons of honey
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups of almond meal

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F)

2.  Whisk the egg yolks and honey in a large bowl

3.  Add the oil, vanilla, mashed bananas, cinnamon, baking soda, and almond meal to the egg yolks and honey. Mix well

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form (easiest with an electric mixer!)

5.  Fold egg whites into mixture

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.  Coat baking pan with coconut oil and pour the batter in

7.  Bake for 45 minutes

Chocolate chip scones… say no more

Have I told you that I have a HUGE sweet tooth?  Well, I do.  I love chocolate.  I love cake.  I love cupcakes.  I love ice cream.  I love candy.  I’m the only one of my siblings that has this serious addiction to SUGAR.  When my mom was pregnant with me, she went through a whole baking phase — she learned how to make homemade cakes for her and my father to enjoy.  I wonder how many cakes she consumed while she was pregnant with me… but anyway, I blame my addiction on her, hehe 🙂

I finally made a trip to Trader Joe’s to pick up some essential items.  Another thing about this whole Paleo thing is that it gets crazy expensive!  I refuse to make trips to Whole Foods because…. just because they are ridiculously overpriced.   So I go to Trader Joe’s, hoping that they will have what I need.  I picked up a package of their almond meal – similar to almond flour, but not as fine.  Only $3.99 for a lb!  (Seems expensive for a baking item and especially when compared to flour, but this is a pretty good price as almond flour can cost about $8 a lb)

The chocolate chip scone was the perfect mixture of sweet and salty.  I tried it right when it came out of the oven.  YUM.

Note: The best way to keep leftover almond meal is to put it into an airtight container and freeze.

Bjorn gives this: 2 thumbs down – it tasted too healthy for him.  Here’s how our conversation went:

Bjorn comes home from work, starving for dinner, grabs the tupperware container with the chocolate chip scones.

B: **Chewing**

Me: Do you like it?? It’s so good isn’t it???

B: No, it’s gross! What is that? Why is it so salty?

Me: Sigh…

Of course I enjoyed it and I’m sure you will, too.  I just love his reaction to some of the stuff that I’ve been making… 🙂

Chocolate Chip Scones

Makes 16

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (recommend using at least 70% cacao)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine almond meal, salt, and baking soda. In another bowl, whisk together coconut oil, honey, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Drop batter on pan using an ice cream scoop.  Keep the scoops about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. DEVOUR!

Chocolate pudding… Pudding on the Paleo diet??

So as you can imagine, a few days into the diet, I was seriously craving something sweet.  I searched high and low for a recipe for something sweet, but a lot of baked goods popped up and I didn’t have all of the ingredients in my pantry.  I finally found a few recipes for chocolate pudding – I took ingredients from different recipes and made my own.

I’m not going to lie – the first bite was really weird.  Maybe it was because the avocado that I used was sitting out in the fruit bowl so it was already at room temperature.  It tasted like warm avocado topped with cocoa powder.  Not good.  But I put the sucker in the fridge for an hour and tried it again and it was delicious!  The best thing is that I had about 2 bites and I was satisfied.

Here’s Bjorn’s experience:

Me: Bjorn, try this!  It’s chocolate pudding! (hee hee hee >:))

B: **Takes a little baby bite** That’s weird.  That’s not chocolate pudding.

 

Paleo Chocolate Pudding

Makes about 8 oz

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of almond butter
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1.  Toss all of the ingredients into a food processor and mix away until smooth.

2.  Place in fridge for an hour so the pudding gets nice and cold!