All About Chocolate

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Homemade chocolate offers the most rich, smooth depth of flavor, simply incomparable to any chocolate I’ve tried, even the expensive gourmet kind. Continue reading

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Peach, Coconut, and Greens Smoothie

It all began when I was out of almond milk (gasp!), but remembered the sale on coconut milk last week at the corner store. Thank goodness for properly stocked pantries!

About the greens: I usually use spinach, or a spinach/kale combo, because spinach’s flavor blends in really well (so you can squeeze more in before the flavor starts to change). If you have a high-powered blender, kale will do wonderfully; if not, you might end up having to chew your smoothie. I’ve recently started using fresh rainbow or swiss chard, and it works great! I also found a bag of packaged “power greens” in the packaged salads section at the grocery store, containing baby bok choy, baby red/green chard, collard greens, mustard greens, and red spinach. Greens like that are a lot more flavorful (read: bitter) so I either use more banana or less greens. Play around with the amounts to suit your tastes.

Ingredients

Makes 2 medium-sized smoothies

  • 2-3 cups greens of your choice (see note above)
  • 1 15-0z can coconut milk (full fat or light)
  • 1-2 medium ripe bananas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup peach slices (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tbs orange juice concentrate (or 1/2 cup orange juice)
  • optional: 1 tbs chia seeds
  • optional: 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • optional: shredded coconut for topping

Directions

Add all ingredients in a blender, with the greens first. Blend until smooth. Adjust ingredient amounts to suit your tastes. Top with shredded coconut if desired.

3 Minute Pumpkin Spice Fudge

Oh boy am I excited to share this one with you! I am fairly obsessed with all things pumpkin, and with Mexican chocolate, so this seemed like a match made in heaven. Could it get any better than a fudge recipe with less than 5 ingredients, less than 5 minutes to prepare, healthy (well, at least healthier than other fudges), and free of butter/cream/dairy, added sugar, and artificial ingredients?

Some exciting serving ideas:

  • Pumpkin Spice Fudge Frosting: increase the pumpkin puree, decrease the chocolate chips, and add a little liquid sweetener. Perfect with a vanilla spice cake!
  • Pumpkin Spice Fudge Pie: Double or tripe the recipe and use it to fill a pie crust. Top with whipped cream of course!
  • Pumpkin Spice Fudgepops: Fill popsicle molds with this recipe and freeze

Ingredients

Makes about 12 1-cubic inch pieces

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips, melted (see note below)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon (to taste) and a dash of nutmeg (can substitute pumpkin pie seasoning)
  • optional topping: coconut, chopped nuts, extra cinnamon, or mini chocolate chips.

Directions

Melt the chocolate chips. [Note: It’s best to use a double boiler on a stovetop, but I usually use the microwave, which works fine as long as you’re very careful not to scorch the chocolate. My method: Heat the chips for 1 minute on high. Stir. Heat at 20 second intervals, stirring between each. After the 3rd or4th interval, the chips will be entirely melted after you stir.]

In a food processor, combine pumpkin, melted chocolate, spices, and cocoa powder. Process until smooth.

Pour into a glass dish or onto wax paper, and shape as you’d prefer. Sprinkle on any toppings you’d like.

You can enjoy it immediately, or refrigerate for a while (30 minutes or more) to allow it to firm up a bit.

I hope you like this! It turned out way better than I would have guessed. Also note, you can make a half or quarter recipe for just enough for 1 😉

Grilled Peach and Arugula Salad with Caramelized Shallots, Toasted Almonds, and Goat Cheese

Dear readers, I am sorry for my recent lack of posts. My excuses: very busy, no internet, oven broken…you get the idea. 🙂 But hopefully you’ll forgive me, because this is one fantastic salad. In fact, maybe one of the best I’ve made.

I don’t know about you, but ever year when September hits, I go through the same mildly traumatic realization: No peaches or berries or melons all winter?! But then I’m distracted by pumpkins and squashes and I get excited again. But consider this a last attempt to savor those perfect summer peaches before they disappear completely from the produce stands.

Also…my excuses about were actually true, including my broken oven. Until my landlord responds, you’ll be seeing lots of raw and stove-top only recipes from me. 😉

Also note: I don’t have a grill, so I used my handy countertop George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine. If you have an outdoor grill or something similar, that will be just perfect.

Ingredients

Makes 2 medium salads

  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1 ripe peach
  • 1 medium shallot
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds (can use raw, but toasted adds a nice flavor touch)
  • 2-3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup
  • pinch of cinnamon, to taste (don’t omit! This really makes the salad)

Directions

Slice the peach into slices about 1/4 inch thick.

Grill the slices until soft and juicy, according to your grill’s instructions (see note above.) Meanwhile, chop the almonds and slice the shallot.

To caramelize the shallot, heat 1 tsp of the honey and a tiny bit of the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add shallots, and cook until they are soft and, well, caramelized. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, remaining 1 tsp of honey,and cinnamon. Adjust to taste. When the peaches and shallots are done cooking, assemble the salads – add the arugula as the base, then top with the peaches, shallots, goat cheese, and almonds. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Enjoy!

What seasonal fruits and vegetables will you miss most about summer?

 

Thai Peanut Cabbage Wraps with Tofu and Veggies

Happy Friday everyone! I’ve been looking forward to sharing these with you. Based loosely on my chard veggie wraps, these little wraps are really filling (thanks to the tofu) and versatile (you can use any veggies you have on hand).

I can’t take any credit for the sauce (the best part!). It’s from my favorite cookbook, Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. That book is definitely a great investment if you haven’t discovered it already.

I made the sauce thin, like a dip. You could also use less water and make it thicker, like a spread, and slather it inside

Ingredients

  • 1 block extra firm tofu, drained
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • several whole cabbage leaves (I used red cabbage, but I bet any type would do)
  • Miscellaneous chopped veggies (I used bean sprouts, kale, iceberg lettuce, and carrots)

Peanut Sauce (adapted slightly from Deborah Madison’s “Quick Peanut Sauce”, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)

 

  • 3 Tbsp peanut butter (unsweetened)
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar or agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup water (or a little less)
  • pinch of red pepper flakes

Directions

Chop the tofu. Saute in a saute pan with the oil until golden.

Meanwhile, whisk all the sauce ingredients except the water together. Add the water little by little until you reach your desired consistency.

Chop the veggies into a julienne-style cut. Slice the cabbage leaves lengthwise, forming strips. The tofu should be done by now too.

On a cabbage leaf strip, line up some veggies and tofu slices.

Roll it up!

Dip into that sauce. YUM!

Citrus Jicama Fruit Slaw with Avocado and Mint

Hello everyone! I am back after a wonderful, lengthy but whirlwind trip home to see family and friends. Hopefully, you didn’t notice my absence ;)…before I left I pre-scheduled posts to be automatically published while I was gone, and I did my best to reply to all your sweet comments! So bear with me as I am in catch-up mode and am looking forward to seeing what all you bloggers have been up to these past couple weeks. ALSO! Several of you have graciously nominated me for awards while I was gone, so stay tuned for my humble award nomination post, next up! Aw, shucks. 🙂

Anyway, on to today’s recipe! A summery fruit salad seems appropriate now that June is rapidly disappearing and soon we will be celebrating July. It’s quick, easy, health, and delicious — all important attributes for a recipe. It can also be doubled, or tripled, if you have a summer potluck or picnic to attend. Thanks to the lemon juice, the avocado and jicama don’t brown, so leftovers are just as appetizing as fresh!

Don’t you just love summer? Also, don’t you just love avocados? They magically make anything that much more delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium jicama, peeled and chopped
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled and chopped
  • 1 orange, peeled and chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp agave nectar or honey
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 2 tsp or so of lemon zest (optional)

Directions

Combine all ingredients except lemon juice and sweetener. Toss in the lemon juice and sweetener until evenly distributed.

Done. Enjoy!

Here’s another shot of those beautiful summer colors. You know, in case you didn’t see the one 3 seconds ago. 😉 Some things are just too pretty to photograph once.

What’s your favorite fruit salad/slaw?