Saturday, February 21, 2015

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

I've got one more chocolate recipe for you this month that you can enjoy anytime of day!

     This month's recipe redux theme is asking us to create a recipe using our favorite chocolate pairing. The first thing that came to my mind was my love for chocolate with peanut butter and banana. This perfect trio makes an appearance in my day at least once or twice a week. Whether its peanut butter dipped in chocolate and peanut butter or all three baked into pancakes, bread or cookies.
     One of my favorite ways to enjoy these ingredients is in a smoothie. My Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie makes a perfect pre or post work out snack, dessert or meal replacement shake. The banana gives it a smooth silky texture while the peanut butter and chocolate work together to give this shake a rich flavor.

    This shake also makes a great on-the-go breakfast. Perfect on those days when you need a little chocolate to get you going in the morning!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5.3 ounce container of vanilla greek yogurt, non-fat
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
1. Cut banana into 6-8 pieces. Place in blender along with remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.

Serving Suggestion:
 1 serving for meal
 2 servings for snack

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Almond Joy Cups

With only three days until Valentine's days I thought I would give you another homemade chocolate treat recipe.  This time I gave a makeover to one of my favorite candy bars, Almond Joys. With only 5 ingredients that you can actually identify and less than 10 minutes of preparation time, you've got yourself a healthy homemade candy bar.  

This year, instead of purchasing a box of chocolates for your Valentine, impress them with these homemade Almond Joy Cups! Homemade sweets are just that much sweeter, I promise! 

Almond Joy Cups

Makes: 24, Servings: 12

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup coconut flakes
  • ⅓ cup roasted almonds (optional)

  1. In a small bowl, combine the coconut oil, honey and almond butter.
  2. Microwave ingredients for 30 seconds and stir.
  3. Add in cocoa powder and coconut flakes and mix until well combined.
  4. Divide mixture into 24 mini muffin tins and top each with a roasted almond. 
  5. Freeze for 30 minutes, use a knife to pop out of muffin tin then store in an airtight container in the freezer.
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Monday, February 9, 2015

Time Saving Meal Planning Tips

     I’m sure many of you can relate: you come home after a long day of work or school and the last thing you want to do is to spend time cooking.  I myself have a full time job and am a part time student. Despite my love for cooking, I too find it difficult to put together a meal every night. But what I have found, is that with some simple planning and preparation, it can be done!
     I can’t take all the credit for these meal planning tips. Most of them I have taken from my mother who was always so good about planning meals for the week ahead. Here are some tips that I’ve found to be helpful in saving both time and money.

1. Pick your least busy day each week to plan out your meals.

For me this often ends up being Sundays. While enjoying my morning coffee I go through cookbooks and blogs and pick at least 3 meals I want to cook that week, always getting a little help from my curious cat Nala. When choosing recipes, I like to pick one that’s more time intensive for Sunday night that will leave left overs, another recipe (like a casserole or crockpot recipe) that I can throw together ahead of time and heat up when I get home, and lastly a recipe that takes about 30 minutes or less to prepare and cook.

2.     Make a shopping list.
I go through each recipe and figure out the ingredients I need and go through my pantry/fridge to see what items I already have to figure out and write down what I need to purchase. Having a shopping list not only helps cut down the time I spend in the grocery store, but it also helps cut down my weekly food bill.  Setting up a plan for meals for the week will also prevent you from having to waste time going back to the grocery store later in the week.

3. Prep foods in advance.
Sundays are also the day I like to prep foods. Depending on what you are cooking that week there are many foods you can prepare ahead of time to save some later in the week. 
            -Cook grains (rice, pasta, quinoa etc)
-Roast vegetables
-Dice/chop vegetables
-Pull out and measure ingredients
-Cook meat in a crockpot

Once everything is prepared, just place in an air tight container or zip lock bag and store in the fridge. 

Here’s what I have planned this week …5 meals (for 2 people), 3 dishes, and only 2 days of cooking! 

Week of  2/8 Meals:
  • Monday (cook meatballs while at work)
    • Crockpot Meatballs with Whole Wheat Pasta and Salad
  • Tuesday (class, leftovers)
    • Tomato Bisque
  • Wednesday
    • Crockpot Meatball Subs with Salad
  • Thursday
    • Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Sautéed Zucchini
  • Friday
    • Out