Guilt-free chocolate? Is there such a thing?
In my effort to turn over a new leaf in regards to my sweet-tooth, I’ve been on the hunt for sweet treats that I can enjoy guilt free. Let’s just say, it hasn’t been easy. I’m not into using sketchy chemical no-calorie sweeteners, and if it doesn’t taste good, what’s the point?
I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted this rich mousse.
Guilt-free Chocolate Mousse Recipe
- 3 squares unsweetened bakers chocolate
- 1 – aprox. 250 gram package of organic silken tofu
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/4 c. honey
- 2 tbsp milk
- pinch of salt
- Melt chocolate in the microwave or on the stove top. Don’t burn it like I did while chasing the kid.
- Dump everything into the food processor and whiz until smooth and creamy.
- Pour into a bowl or individual servings. (espresso cups would be perfect) Chill.
This recipe is easily made vegan by using agave in place of honey and soy or almond milk in place of milk.
I also think it would be over the top with raspberry puree or a shot of espresso in place of the milk. In fact, I might try the espresso later today.
You can also pour this into a pie crust for a rich chocolate cream pie.
This morning the little monster and I tucked into the farmer’s market at Trout Lake. We are so lucky to have such a fantastic spot for our local market. Trout Lake is a little oasis in the heart of busy, urban East Van.
I promised the hubs I wouldn’t spend a fortune (as I’m apt to do at the market, which is why I rarely go) so I only took a little bit of pocket money for a treat.
The boy has completely ravaged our substantial raspberry harvest, devouring them handful by chubby handful every chance he gets. At only 15 months old he quickly learned to decipher the gorgeously sweet from the over-tired or unready. A pint of organic raspberries seemed an easy choice for our treat.
We enjoyed a few while he was held mesmerized by the morning’s mexican band, the rest he bore carefully home.
In keeping with my quest to lose weight before baby number two (but not completely forsake my sweet tooth) and keep my hubby happy, I whipped up a batch of raspberry frozen yogurt with the remainder.
Raspberry Frozen Yogurt Recipe
- 2 1/2 cups of the richest plan greek yogurt you can find. (I used 11% MF)
- Whatever remains of your pint of raspberries after snacking. We had about 3/4 of a pint left.
- 1/4 cup of honey.
- Pinch of salt.
- Just because I was feeling naughty – One capful of Triple Sec. Completely unnecessary but ridiculously delicious.
- Heat your berries in a sauce pan just enough to get them to break down so you can mash them. You can also just run them through your whizzer. (Mine is on the fritz)
- Press the raspberries through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl to get out the seeds. If you don’t mind seeds you can skip this step. I hate getting them in my teeth.
- Add everything else and give it a stir.
- Pour it in your ice cream maker and prepare according to your machines instructions. I use a Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment. ( I heart my Kitchen Aid. )
- When ice cream is at soft serve stage you can put it in a container to ripen in the freezer . . . If you can resist destroying the whole tub as soft serve . . .
My hubby works pretty hard during the week. With two construction companies to run, he doesn’t have much time to eat properly on the road or job site. I’m always looking for something to pop in his bag to keep him going during the day (and away from the Timmy’s).
These are crazy easy to make and way cheaper than store bought. (Not to mention they aren’t rammed full of sugar.) I bought a big bag of organic slow cooking oats for only $4.50 – I’d guess the whole batch didn’t cost more than $2.50, and I got 30 bars from the recipe. That’s less than 10 cents a bar, and they’re organic to boot!
Talk about cheap and cheerful!
PB & Honey Granola Bar Recipe
- 2 cups rolled oats (slow cooking)
- 1/2 cup crispy brown rice cereal (I used Nature’s Path Organic)
- 1/2 cup oat flour (grind oats if you don’t have on hand)
- 2 tbs ground chia seeds (flax would work too)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup of your favourite healthy, neutral flavoured oil
- 1/2 cup of honey
- 3 packets of stevia or other dry sweetener
- 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
- 1/4 cup peanuts, roughly chopped (I used roasted & salted peanuts)
- extra peanut butter for smearing
- Preheat oven to 325.
- Mix dry ingredients well.
- Mix wet ingredients and combine with dry.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread mixture on sheet evenly, cover with another piece of parchment and press down, HARD. (I used my rolling pin.)
- Remove top sheet of parchment and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, being careful not to over-brown.
- Allow to cool completely before cutting.
- Slather each with a thin layer of peanut butter, make into sandwiches and devour.
These can be frozen if wrapped well.
Normally, I’m not the kind of person who worries too much about what she eats. I cook from scratch, eat real food and when I have treats, they’re the homemade kind, ya know – with real butter, lard, all the good stuff. I’ve never been a twig, but I’ve always had a healthy body weight without sweating it too much.
However, since the baby came, my body and my appetite have rebelled. I didn’t gain as much weight during pregnancy as some of my friends, but it didn’t exactly fall off after baby came, either. Breastfeeding made me ravenous for calorie-dense food and that quickly became a habit.
So now, here I am, 15 months later, only 15 pounds lighter than I was with my kid in my belly. Yikes.
I work from home and am blessed with a hubby who loves me unconditionally, so I don’t have a ton of pressure to be a supermodel. Ha. Ok. Most days find me in Lulu’s and no makeup. I’m a mum. What can I say.
That said, coming from a place of sane health goals, it’s time to unload a few pounds before I pack ’em on again with a second pregnancy.
The plan? A system re-boot.
We’ve had a fantastic crop of yukon gold potatoes this summer. There is nothing like homegrown potatoes dug fresh for dinner. They are sweet and soft and bear no resemblance to store-bought.
One of the tricks to eating well locally and in season without breaking the bank is to learn eat up what you have. Most of us think about what we want to eat for dinner, go to the store and buy it. When you’re eating in season, you have to do the exact opposite – take a look at what you have on hand and figure out where to go from there.
It’s really easy to look in the fridge and sigh – potatoes again??
Here’s one way to eat up those leftovers. This isn’t really a recipe so much as a method.
Leftover Potato Home Fries
- leftover boiled or baked potatoes, about 1/2 a potato per person or a whole one if you’re greedy
- a glug of oil, preferably something with a high smoking point like grape seed oil
- two cloves of garlic, minced
- a handful of herbs, minced (rosemary, thyme, oregano)
Key to good home fries is a smoking’ hot pan. Get your pan going while you chop up your taters. Get your oil in, and get it nice and hot. Get your potatoes in the pan, but don’t touch them until you can see they’ve got a nice crust on the bottom. Moving them too soon will leave half your potatoes on the bottom of the pan. After that point, toss them regularly as they cook away. When your taters are nearly to your personal perfect level of crunchiness, add your garlic and herbs. Toss about and ta-daa! Tasty taters.
I go through a lot of vanilla. A lot.
I can’t bare to use that crumby artificial stuff. It’s just not right. Only the best, pure vanilla extract will do, and it costs me a fortune.
I got a good deal on vanilla beans at one of my favourite cooking shops in East Van, Gourmet Warehouse, and decided it’s time to bite the bullet and make my own.
I’ve made vanilla before with bourbon, but found the flavour of the bourbon a bit overwhelming. I longed for a cleaner taste. So this time I’ve gone with vodka.
I did a test run with one of the half empty bottles in my liquor cabinet recently and was thrilled with the result.
Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe
- 1 750 ml bottle of vodka (go big or go home!)
- 1 750 ml mason jar or glass container with tight fitting lid of similar size
- 20 vanilla beans (See above re: go big or go home)
- Slice vanilla beans in half length-wise.
- Scrape out the seeds. Or don’t. Up to you. I’m impatient and I think scraping the seeds makes it go faster.
- Pop the beans and seeds in your jar and glug the vodka over top.
- Give the jar a good shake, keep it someplace out of bright light and give it a shake every few days.
- In a few weeks you’ll have deep, dark, aromatic vanilla extract!