Posts tagged ‘chocolate’

July 24, 2011

bittersweet

Today is bittersweet.  It’s the end of my summer “vacation”.  Tomorrow, I start my new job and my weeks will become extremely busy.  Going from zero hours of work per week to 40 is going to be quite the adjustment, both for me and this little guy.

He’s gotten quite clingy to me since I have been home a lot with him this summer, something he has not been used to for quite a few years.  Hopefully he’ll just nap all day and barely miss me, although I might have to put up with some sad eyes in the morning.

I digress.  Even though this day is bittersweet in the sense that all my weekdays will no longer feel like weekends, my weekends will now be all the more relaxing since it will definitely be a change to my weekly routine.  Plus, I am excited for my new job to start, although I am extremely nervous as well for the unknown and of having to learn a lot of new things.  And the pressure of this being a real position – hopefully it can all come naturally and not too much thrown at me right off the bat!

Well, as this marks the unofficial end to my summer, of course I would spend some of it in the kitchen!  Kinley, Crosby and I were headed to go sailing on Lake Michigan this afternoon with Mom and Dad, but the darn weather did not look like it was going to cooperate so we ended up turning around.  But even though the weather decided not to cooperate, at least these chocolate muffins did!  I found a recipe on the blog, Cookie Madness, and adapted it to be gluten free.  I also took out the chocolate chips called for in the recipe to try and make these not-so guilty!

Gluten Free + Vegan Chocolate Muffins

  • 3/4 c sorghum flour
  • 1/2 c millet flour
  • 3/4t xanthan gum
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 1/2t baking powder
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1/4c -1/2c maple syrup*
  • 3/4c non-dairy milk
  • 1/2t vanilla extract
  • 1T unsweetened natural applesauce
  • 1T grapeseed or vegetable oil

*I used 1/4c of maple syrup in the recipe and thought it was a nice level of sweetness, but it you generally like muffins and baked goods sweeter you can up the syrup quantity.

1. Preheat your oven to 350′.

2. Sift together the flours, cocoa powder, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

3. Mix the maple syrup, milk, vanilla extract, applesauce and oil.

4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until fully incorporated.

5. Spoon into roughly 9 cupcake wrappers and bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Packing these for with my lunch will definitely help me get through my 8 hour work days!  These are fantastic as-is, but I think you could even pass these as a cupcake with adding chocolate chips in the batter.  A nice topping of a spoonful of either coconut butter or almond butter couldn’t hurt a thing either :).

Advertisements
July 1, 2011

spumoni

When I was studying abroad, I went on quite a few weekend trips to other European cities.  Most were only between 2 and 3 days – luckily the way my school was scheduled everyone had off on Fridays, how awesome is that?  A three day weekend every week!  I knew when heading over to London that I wanted to travel, and Italy was definitely on the top of my list.  Luckily, it was on the lists of three of my friends as well so we planned our trip together.  We scheduled it over May Day weekend – with one extra day off of school!  So we had a wonderful four day trip.

Then came the hard part – deciding where to all go.  We all wanted to go to different locations – Rome, Florence, Venice…  What was the final choice?  All of them.  On Friday we flew into Florence and took a train to our hotel just outside of the city (I’m not a fan of hostels and with four people it was a better deal to get a hotel room instead – and then we had privacy!).  We decided to stay in Florence every night so we didn’t have to travel with all of our belongings – which was just a backpack a piece but it still weighs you down while walking throughout the day.

Day 1:  We walked around Florence and saw David and the other magnificent sights of the city!

Day 2:  We went on a tour of Tuscany – a bus trip my aunt highly recommended and it was by far the favorite part of the trip for all of us!  It started and ended in Florence and we went to Siena, San Gimignano, the Chianti Countryside and Pisa.

Day 3: We took the train from Florence to Venice and walked around Venice for the day and then headed back to Florence.

Day 4: On our final day we took a train from Florence to Rome, walked around the city for the day and flew out of that airport.

We not only made it to all the cities we had wanted to go to, but had an entire daytrip where we were able to visit all of the beautiful and quaint Tuscan towns!  One thing I did way too much on this trip?  Eat.  It’s hard not to in Italy… and the gelato is amazing.  I never had spumoni gelato while I was there, but that is not going to stop me from segueing from my trip to Italy to a delicious recipe for granola that I made last week… Spumoni Granola!

Spumoni is a mix of chocolate, pistachio and a red fruit (traditionally cherries but strawberries work for me ;) ).  You’re also probably wondering why I am posting an Italian-inspired recipe close to the Fourth of July?  Well, there’s really no reason for it besides the fact that it is delicious.  I’ll attempt to make something red, white and blue inspired soon :).

Spumoni Granola

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2c ground flax
  • 1/2c shelled pistachios
  • 1/4c maple syrup
  • 1/2c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1T grapeseed oil
  • 1/4c dark chocolate chunks
  • 1/2c freeze dried strawberries or dried cherries

1. Mix together the oats, flax and pistachios.

2. Whisk together the maple syrup, applesauce and oil.

3. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry and put on a baking sheet.

4. Bake at 350* for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so until the granola is golden brown.

5. Allow to cool completely and mix in the chocolate chunks and fruit.

Even though this granola is not quite as good as being in Italy eating gelato, but I’ll take it :).

May 30, 2011

the 80’s are here again

It was in the mid to upper 80’s today.  In my mind I have been waiting for it to finally warm up enough so that I’m not continually cold all the time, but once the heat finally hits I am just never ready for it!  Living in Wisconsin, we only have about 2 months of summer as it is, and this year it has been even worse so far.  I feel like we maybe have only had around 5 truly nice spring or summery days.  Well, summer did in fact hit today (curious as Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer), and I have a nice little sunburn to go along with it.  At least I am no longer the color of paper…

One thing that is hard for me to do in the summer, especially when the air conditioning is not quite ready to be turned on, is to bake.  I tried out this recipe a little over a week ago (no baking involved!), and it turned out magnificent.  Definitely a keeper.

Decadent Date & Pecan Brownies

adapted from a recipe posted on Earth Balance 

  • 2 cups raw pecans
  • 2 cups chopped and pitted dates
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder* (Trader Joe’s worked awesome in this)
  • 1/2T agave syrup
  • 1/4t sea salt
  • water

1. Put pecans in food processor and pulse until they’re in small pieces.  Add in the dates and pulse a few times, or until incorporated.

2. Add in the cocoa powder, agave, sea salt and about 2-4T of water (to hold mixture together).

3. Press into a 9×9 (or similar) baking dish.  Put in the fridge.

  • 1/4 cup(s) of agave syrup
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1T natural peanut butter

4. In a blender, process agave, almond milk, cocoa powder and peanut butter until smooth.

5. Pour the topping over the brownies and set in the refrigerator.

Along with being a no-bake recipe, these are also raw, gluten-free and vegan, but I don’t think anyone could ever guess!  These are incredible rich brownies, so be sure to have a nice glass of unsweetened vanilla almond milk to go along side!

*In a repeat making of this recipe, I used Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder.  I do not recommend using this cocoa powder in the recipe.  The recipe did not turn out like it did the first time and the whole batch ended up in the garbage :/.