Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Healthy Chocolate! Wait...What????

Hey all!  It's been a little while, but I have an awesome recipe I wanted to share with you.  If you are anything like me, then even when you are trying to eat healthy CHOCOLATE is definitely one of the major food groups.
I generally spend some time on Pinterest looking for different recipes, but I also tend to browse the Web when looking for healthy desserts.  And I have found one that I think is the ultimate healthy dessert!

Chocolate Cookie Dough Brownies!!!

So I found the original recipe on this great site called "Living Healthy with Chocolate."  The woman who runs that page has a ton of great recipes that incorporate chocolate into a healthier lifestyle, but this one is my absolute favorite so far.
I tinkered with this recipe a little bit because I like the brownie part on the bottom to be a little more chocolatey, and I also made my own chocolate to use as chips.  I also doubled the recipe to fit in a normal brownie pan.

Here's how I make it...
  • 2/3 cup raw pecans
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 9 tbs raw cacao powder
  • 11 pitted medjool dates (if you are short on dates you can add 1 tsp of raw honey per date, but this only works if you are short by 1-2.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
Cookie Dough:
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 6 tbs coconut milk
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs + 2 tsp raw honey
  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 6 oz chocolate chips, add more or less as desired (I use Enjoy Life brand chips or make my own)
1.  Line the bottom and sides of a brownie pan with parchment or plastic wrap.  
2.  Using a food processor or a blender grind the pecans into medium/course meal. (Sometimes I grind it finer, but just don't let it turn into nut butter!) 
3.  Remove pits from dates, add to the food processor, and process it into a paste with the nuts.
4.  Add almond flour, cacao powder, vanilla extract and coconut oil.  Mix on medium.  (You may have to stop periodically to scrape the sides back into the middle.)
5.  Pour brownie mixture into the brownie pan and press evenly.
6.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, coconut milk, vanilla extract and honey.
7.  Add almond flour and mix just until all ingredients are combined.
8.  Add in chocolate chips and mix gently.
9.  Pour mixture over the brownie and spread evenly.  You can even sprinkle a few chip over the top to make it look pretty! 
10.  Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour or until the top layer is firm to the touch.
11.  Cut into squares and EAT!  Ok, but seriously don't eat the whole thing at once.  And if there is any left, keep that in a closed container in the fridge.
So because I am trying to sugar detox right now, those Enjoy Life chips just won't work for me.  But I was determined to find a way to make chocolate that I can eat.  And here's what I found on a site called "Chocolate Covered Kate."  An easy peasy recipe for home-made chocolate.  I used the Agave nectar version and it came out awesome!
 1/4 cup cocoa powder
 1/4 cup coconut oil
 1 tbsp of Agave Nectar

Melt coconut oil and combine with agave nectar.  Stir, then add the cacao powder. Stir...a lot.  According to the original recipe you are supposed to stir until it gets thick, but mine never did.  So just stir until you can tell that it is all evenly mixed.  Pour into any flat container lined with parchment or plastic wrap. Freeze until solid, and store in the freezer. Once hardened, you can also store it in the fridge.  DO NOT STORE AT ROOM TEMP - it will get soft.

If you'd like to make these into chocolate chips later, you can melt it slightly in a zip lock baggie (or a chocolate bag if you are fancy - and yes, I'm fancy!)  Just melt it until mushy, not liquid.  Snip the bottom corner of the bag and dole out on a cold cookie sheet lined with parchment to make chips.
Sorry, no pic of the chips cuz they went into my brownies right away!  But it tastes super yum!

Also, if you want a sugar free version of the chocolate, you can use liquid Stevia instead, but the ratios are different: 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon cacao or cocoa powder, 4 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil (melted), vanilla stevia drops to taste (yes you get to taste it!)

You can also just make this to eat.  And feel free to play with it by adding extra flavors or textural ingredients!  It's so good!

EXTRA TIP!  If you choose to use these chips in the brownie recipe use them straight out of the freezer, and make sure you let the cookie dough part cool a little before mixing in the chips.  Since the chips are not so stable at room temp, if you aren't careful they will just melt into the cookie dough before you can even pour it onto the brownie.  (Yes, that is what happened to me the first time.)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these recipes.  Let me know what you think!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire!

Ok, so I said I was going to get back on the horse with my blogging and then showed you some yummy foods that I was going to give you recipes for.  Well, LIFE strikes again.  I'm not going to go through all that has been going on, but with the end of the school year, camp starting, my own personal epiphany, and bunch of other stuff (including no air-conditioning for 5 days), I am finally attempting to make my way back to blogging.
So here is my BIG APOLOGY to those of you who are followers. 

Isn't there always some "thing" in the way?  LOL!

Ok, now let's move past that.  I am going to write this blog when I can and when I think there is something worth sharing.  I am still working on "Balancing" my time and right now a lot of it is spent with my kids.  It's summer, we go outside to play, a lot.  We work on the yard, a lot.  AND most importantly, I realized I really need to work on giving myself some "ME" time, a lot!
I tend to put a lot of thought, time and energy into all my posts here and on FB, and I really want to help people by motivating them to make healthy changes in their lives.  But I REALLY want to lead by example, and when I don't spend enough time on myself, I have a tendency to slip.
So no more slipping for me.  No more taking backwards steps.  And no more putting pressure on myself to post as often as I can.  I know this is what I need to do right now to take care of ME, so that I can be a better mom, wife, friend, and health motivator.  Cuz if you can SEE that I'm making the changes and that they are working for me, it might just give you that extra push you need to make the same kinds of healthy changes.

But don't worry, if you've been waiting for those recipes from the last post, they are coming soon...just not today.  I need to go exercise.  :)