Chocolate Avocado Smoothie. (Tastes like pudding!)

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I know you’re thinking I must be crazy, right?!  I was hesitant when I ran across this recipe in one of my mags that I had.  I thought why not try it, my youngest daughter is so underweight that the calories (all good) would be a great start to the day.  Protein, good fats… it’s all good.  Both of my girls loved it!  I snuck a taste and it tasted like pudding – even had that consistency to be honest.  I put them on table, started making my breakfast and the next thing I heard was slurping sounds coming from their straws. Enough said!

Ingredients:

Makes 2 – 2 cup servings

1 ripe avocado, halved and pitted
2 cups of vanilla almond milk
3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey
2 tablespoons of dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
14 ice cubes

Directions:

Into your blender or Vitamix, add all of the ingredients.  Blend until creamy.  This will have a thick, pudding like appearance.  Pour slowly into  your glasses.  Top with a few chocolate chips.  Enjoy!

Eeek!  Chocolate for breakfast and it is oh so good!

*Adapted from Eating Well.

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Gluten-Free Baked Chobani Fonuts {doughnuts}.

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Fonuts are fake donuts AKA “not fried”, healthy dare I say?  I’m not a huge donut fan but these little guys… I’ve eaten 3 today!  They are minis after-all, so I don’t have the guilt that I normally would have partaking in such a treat.  Gluten-free as well!  I didn’t want to use any “junky” ingredients and guess what – they’re pretty good!!  My kids came home and downed like 8 of them already.

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cup of almond flour (spooned into your measuring cups – not packed down)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (you can also use pumpkin or apple spice seasoning instead)
3 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup (heaping) of vanilla Chobani yogurt
2 heaping tablespoons of raw honey (use regular if you don’t have it)
Extra honey, cinnamon, sugar for topping which is optional

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray your donut pan with baking spray.  Set aside.

You can use a food processor, blender or Vitamix to make the batter creamy and fabulous.  Add all of the dry ingredients and blend (if using a food processor – 4-6 pulses). Then add all of the wet ingredients and blend until smooth.  Stop and scrape down the sides if necessary.  Blend again.  This process took about 1 minute or so.  Then with a spoon, fill each well with about 1/2 or so of batter.  Then bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden.

While baking, I took about two heaping tablespoons of the raw honey (you can also use maple syrup too) and melted it in the microwave until it was watery.  I dipped each donut (fonut) into the liquified honey and then sprinkled some cinnamon and sugar on top.  This is optional.

Enjoy!

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FUNfetti Cookies.

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Friday night’s typically involve me making a carb-loaded pizza dinner for my family as my girls swim most Saturday mornings at their dual meets.  In conjunction with that, I always make a special treat to share with our awesome coaches and as a concession stand contribution.  This week I knew what I wanted to make, birthday cake batter cookies, to celebrate our dear coach Nikki’s birthday!  I didn’t have time to play around with creating a recipe so I searched the internet and found a great one from Cookin’ Cowgirl.  I adapted the recipe from their inspiration.

Made about 25-26 cookies (normal sized)

Ingredients:

1 box Funfetti cake mix (going to use the powder)
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 cup color sprinkles, separated in 2 – 1/2 cup bowls

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. In a small mixing bowl, combine the cake batter mix (powder) and the baking powder.  Whisk until combined.  Then in your stand mixer, blend the eggs, oil and vanilla.  Add the the dry mixture to the wet and blend.  Add 1/2 cup of the sprinkles to the dough and mix again.  Then, using a melon baller, scoop out the dough into small balls and roll in your hands.  Then coat with the remaining sprinkles all over.  Place on a silpat or parchment paper.   Bake for 12 minutes and remove.  Let cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes.  Then remove and let cool completely.  Package up in cute bags, serve or place in tupperware.  The cookie dough is very soft when it comes out of the oven- don’t panic.  Just let them cool on the cookie sheet as noted.  They will firm up.

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Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Football or Lips Dip.

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My daughter was hosting a Super Bowl party so we searched the internet for a fun dessert idea that would be football themed.  We stumbled upon www.crazyforcrust.com website and knew this was perfect!  I kept the recipe right on for how they did it.  It would also be super fun encrusted with red sprinkles for lips to celebrate Valentine’s Day!

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of butter (I used butter substitute)
4 ounces of low fat cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup of creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.5 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup of chocolate chips

Encrusting: You can use chocolate sprinkles or mini chocolate chips (like I did).
Icing:  To replicate the laces on a football.

Directions:

In a stand mixer, cream the cream cheese and peanut butter with the paddle attachment.  Add the vanilla.  Then in 1/4 cup increments, add the powdered sugar.  Once complete, add the chocolate chips.

Turn the batter out onto your serving platter.  Shape with clean hands into a football or lips etc.  Then dump your encrusting option on top and start gently pushing it in to cover.  I only covered the top.  Serve with pretzels or graham crackers.  Refrigerate until serving.

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Chocolate Chip PB Cup Minis.

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This is one of those OHHHHH mmmmm GEEE recipes.  It’s the perfect storm of chocolate, chocolate and oh wait, peanut butter!  I made these for our concession stand “contribution” for our swim meet tomorrow.  Standard protocol for sweets at a swim meet.  I think it should be dubbed “Junk food heaven” if you asked me. I digress, if you love chocolate chip cookies and Reese Peanut Butter cups – you will totally love these!  Would be fun for your Super Bowl party this weekend or a special treat for your Valentine too!

Ingredients:

1 bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (small but not the mini size) that are wrapped in foil – remove the foil and paper and set aside
1 cup + 2 tbl of all purpose flour (I used King Arthur’s)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of butter or butter substitute, at room temperature
5 tablespoons of sugar
5 tablespoons of light brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
10 ounces of chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  I used a mini muffin pan and lined with little paper cup liners.  In a small bowl or large measuring cup, combine the flour, soda and salt.  Set aside.

In your stand mixer, cream butter and sugars.  Then add the egg.  Blend.  Then add the vanilla extract.  Blend again.  In thirds, add the flour mixture.  Beat after each addition.  Avoid over mixing.  Add the chocolate chips and blend.  Then fill each muffin cup with about 3/4 of the dough.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly golden.  Remove and immediately place a peanut butter cup in the center, gently pushing down, until each cookie has a pb cup.  This recipe yielded 42 mini cookies for me.

This cookie recipe is adapted from Guittard Chocolate.  

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OXO Good Grips Cookie Press Butter Cookies

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OXO sent me some foodie swag this week and I have to tell you, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and use it in the kitchen.  I have a an older cookie press I believe from Williams Sonoma that isn’t that easy to use.  I’ve honestly always shied away from using it because of that fact, again, it’s old.  The OXO Good Grips Cookie Press tube for the cookie dough is huge!  That makes life so much easier!  It comes apart easily for cleaning.  The disks for shapes are so varied and awesome.  I’m in love… like I am with all of their products!  I went with a Valentine theme today in making over 100 cookies.  Yes, I’ll be sharing these with my friends!  I used the recipe for Butter Cookies that comes with the manual.  I made only two adaptations that I note below.  The retail value on the press is around $29 and they did send me their springtime shapes kit as well, which can be purchased separately.  Packaging was phenomenal.  The hard case that holds all of the shape disks is lovely.  Top notch!  Five star review. Here is the link if you’re interested.

http://www.oxo.com/p-1243-cookie-press-with-disk-storage-case.aspx

 

Ingredients:

1.5 cups of butter (3 sticks) – a lot of butter but I used Smart Balance baking sticks and this yields about 12 dozen or more cookies
1 cup of white sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
Hot pink food coloring (I used all natural food coloring that I found on line)
4 cups of all purpose flour (I used King Arthurs)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Use ungreased, unlined baking sheets.

In your stand mixer, blend the butter, sugar and salt.  Beat until fluffy.  Add the vanilla, almond and the eggs (one at a time).  Gradually add one cup of the flour at a time.  Blend after each addition.  Add the food coloring (optional).  Then spoon the dough into your cookie press and go to town :)  Add sprinkles (optional) before baking.  Press them down a bit so they stick.

I baked my cookies for 7 minutes and 30 seconds because I wanted them just done without any brown edging.  Those cookies will stay home for my family ;)

Place on a cooling rack and then store in a tupperware container.

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Lemon Bars.

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{Will take better finished product/staged photos tomorrow – just got home from a fabulous party and daylight is gone.}

My husband is allergic to chocolate, cocoa specifically, and never really gets to eat dessert that I make for the family (not that he’s a big dessert fan).  Today, I wanted to make a recipe using my Magimix Food Processor that I’m also giving away tonight.  This recipe is a little thank you because he bought me a new car yesterday and I wanted to do something nice for him.  Plus my kids love lemons and I had a ton on hand so I thought I would give it a whirl.

Now I’ve never made lemon bars before.  I’m not sure exactly that I’ve ever even eaten one before.  So I went to my trusted source, foodnetwork.com and pulled a recipe.  I made it straight up like their’s and hope and pray it’s a hit with the family.

Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • Vegetable oil, for greasing
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Filling:

  • 4 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 8 lemons)

Directions

Make the crust: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with vegetable oil and line with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; grease the foil with oil. Pulse the butter, flour, both sugars and the salt in a food processor until the dough comes together, about 1 minute. Press evenly into the bottom and about 1/2 inch up the sides of the prepared pan, making sure there are no cracks. Bake until the crust is golden, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Whisk the whole eggs and yolks, sugar and flour in a bowl until smooth. Whisk in the lemon zest and juice. Remove the crust from the oven and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees F. Pour the filling over the warm crust and return to the oven. Bake until the filling is just set, 35-40 minutes.

Let the bars cool in the pan on a rack, then refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Lift out of the pan using the foil and slice. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Finished bar photos will be shared tonight.  I’m rushing off to a party this afternoon while these cool.  But wanted to share with you the process :)

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Sweet & Salty Valentine Cookie Bars.

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Adapted from Guittard Super Cookie Chip Cookie Recipe.

Ingredients:

1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of butter, softened
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons of light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 ounces of Guittard Super Cookie Chips
1/2 cup of pretzel pieces, salted
1/4 cup of M&Ms
Sprinkles (optional) Valentine Day oxoxo sprinkles used.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, soda and salt.  Spray the 9×9 glass pan with baking spray. Set aside.

In your stand mixer, paddle attached, cream butter and sugars.  Then beat in the egg and vanilla until creamy.  Add the flour mixture, blend.  Blend well.  By hand, stir in the chocolate chips.   Spread the dough into the pan evenly distributed.  Then press in pretzel pieces and the m&m’s throughout the top.  Bake for 20 minutes or so (until the edges are golden brown).  Let cool and then store in a container with a lid.

 

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White Wine Braised Chicken with Thyme.

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Braising meat, if you’ve never done it, is so easy and such a flavorful way of cooking a typically low cost meat (red) but I opted to use some chicken for this recipe.  It’s flexible, work with what you have on hand.  You can braise this on the stovetop or in the oven, like I did, for a minimum of 2 hours but up to 4-6.

Ingredients:

Olive Oil
Chicken breasts and thighs (one piece per person as a guide)
1/2 roughly chopped yellow onion
1 large or 2 medium carrots, chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
3 tablespoons of all purpose flour (I used King Arthur’s)
Several sprigs of fresh thyme
8 olives, various Mediterranean, pitted
(2-3 cups) White wine, I used Pinot Grigio (anything you would drink)
Salt & Pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

First your going to start by browning the meat.  In a large Dutch oven heat some olive oil in the bottom of the pan.  Let it get hot and then add the meat.  AVOID overcrowding, working in batches, and let the meat sear on each side for at least 5-6 minutes.  You want a good crust on the meat, which adds the deep flavor to the final dish.  Then flip and repeat.  Remove and set aside.  Working until all of the meat is completed.  Then add the onions, carrots and garlic.  You may need to add additional olive oil, if so, splash some in.  Cook the veggies for 6 minutes.  Then add the tomato paste and flour.  Give it a good stir.  Then add the chicken back in, now is okay to overlap and overcrowd.  Add the olives, thyme and white wine (don’t be shy with the wine).  Cover.

Add to the oven and let it braise for hours.  I let it go all afternoon (6 hrs) just checking on the liquid level every hour.  Add additional wine as necessary.  You don’t want to the meat to dry out.  I would suggest having at least 4 inches of liquid in there at all times.  Remove and let rest for 10 minutes.  Then serve.  I served with sesame zucchini slices.  It is heavenly!

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Oat Chobani PB2 Cookies. {no flour & gluten free}

 

I had an old recipe that I wrote down on a notepad – totally random that I discovered it and I thought I would tweak it and mess around with the ingredients and see what would happened.  I made the batter two days ago and refrigerated it, only because the dough was really loose, and forgot about it.  Ha ha.  Life is just too busy lately.  So I remembered it today before I headed out to pick up my daughter and made the batch.

I haven’t been eating cookies or really anything “sweet” that I’ve been making because my weight is down 15-16ish lbs and I’m afraid eating something sweet will open the flood gates to the sweets again.  You know what I mean, right? So I reserved them for my dad and my girls to review.  Everyone LOVES them.  Hey, who would’ve thought. They look funky and a bit healthy but the reviews are glowing hence me sharing it with you.  Now bare with me on this recipe… You MUST be flexible.

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Ingredients:

1 stick of Smart Balance butter or regular butter, room temperature
1/4 cup of Chobani (vanilla)
1/4 cup of white sugar
3/4 cup of light brown sugar
2 tablespoons of PB2 powdered peanut butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
3 cups of old fashioned oats

Directions:

In your stand mixer, blend the butter, Chobani, PB2 and sugars together.  Don’t panic if it looks weird!  Then add the eggs and beat well.  Add the vanilla extract.  Then in a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and then add them to the wet mixture.  Blend together.  It will be ooey, gooey and a mess!  Scoop this mixture into a bowl and cover. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or more (I let it go up to 2 days) so it can firm up.  Trust me, you need to this or they will be impossible to work with :)

Then preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  On your cookie sheet line with parchment or a Silpat liner.  Scoop and place the dough about 1.5-2 inches apart.  Now the baking time will vary.  Normal cookies take 8-10 but I thought they were still too loose.  I baked them for about 14-16 minutes or until crispy and brown around the edges.  Trust me, I kept testing them and taking them out – inspection and then back in.  Your oven make take a bit longer so be patient.  This recipe makes a ton of cookies!  36 or so (small scoop sized).

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