Fruit and Yogurt with Walnut Date Topping

Yummy as a light breakfast or as a little pick-me-up snack, this simple fruit bowl has been a favorite of mine this summer. Try it out!

Fruit Bowl

Ingredients:

Swap these 1st four ingredients out as desired to include your favorite fruits. Apples, raspberries, peaches, strawberries…whatever is fresh and in season.

  • 1 chopped nectarine (pit removed, of course!)
  • 1/2 mango chopped
  • 1 handful grapes
  • 1 handful blueberries
  • dollop of greek yogurt

For Topping

  • 1/4 cup of shelled walnuts
  • 3 Medjool dates, pitted and coarsely chopped

You will also need: 

  • A Magic Bullet Blender or a food processor

Directions:

For Topping, Place your walnuts in your food processor and pulse about 3-4 times (quick pulses – you just want to get them started.) Then, add your coarsely chopped dates and continue pulsing until they are well combined and the mixture resembles a finely ground granola or crumb topping. I use my Magic Bullet Blender because it is good for processing small batches of ingredients like these. If you don’t have a Magic Bullet Blender and you don’t feel like using a food processor either, you could just chop these by hand, but I find the consistency is much more yummy when they are pulsed together in a food processor. This will make more topping than what you need for a single serving. Simply save the rest in an airtight container in your fridge and sprinkle on your yogurt and fruit as desired.

As for the rest, it’s pretty self explanatory. Assemble your chopped fruit in a small bowl, add a spoonful of yogurt (I like vanilla) and then sprinkle on the date/walnut crumble. Enjoy!

 

 

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Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

You really can’t go wrong with any recipe that has “chocolate” twice in its name, can you? Well, this recipe is no exception. I originally found this recipe on About.com. The only thing I did differently was to use the extra muffin batter for a brownie-like cake (more on that below.)

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

Adapted from a recipe by Danilo Alfaro on About.com

Click here for a printable version of this recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1¼ cups whole milk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus 1/3 cup additional chocolate chips for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Thoroughly grease and flour a muffin pan, or you can use paper muffin liners.
  2. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
  3. In another bowl, combine the milk and the melted butter. (I add the milk just a little bit at a time so the butter doesn’t harden up again.) Then add the oil, and finally whisk in the beaten eggs and stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not over mix, or your muffins may be tough or hard. The batter should be visibly lumpy.
  5. With a rubber spatula, gently fold 1 cup of chocolate chips into the batter. Again – don’t overwork the batter.
  6. Carefully spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan. I was able to fill the muffin cups up about ¾ of the way and they rose just the right amount for my liking.
  7. Finally, sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips onto the tops of the muffins, and transfer to the oven immediately.
  8. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Mmm...Muffins!

Notes:

The original recipe says this batter makes 12 to 18 muffins. It definitely makes more than 12. In fact, I had enough leftover batter to pour into a small 8 inch round cake pan. I kept a close eye on this cake in the oven and pulled it out before the muffins (at about 15 minutes.) The resulting cake was thin, but still moist and a perfect base for a brownie bottom sundae. :-) However, you can always just make more muffins, if you have more than one muffin pan. Enjoy!

Mango Cranberry Smoothie

This little smoothie was a bright spot in my otherwise dreary day yesterday. I had gone since November with nary a sniffle, but then…WHAM! A head cold hit out of nowhere. Well, actually, I think it came from the direction of my son’s room. But let’s not point any fingers.

As I trudged around the house yesterday morning, my head heavy and my back aching, the thought of a smoothie entered my addled brain. The ultimate reward of something cool and tangy to sip quickly overtook my fatigue and before I knew it I was raiding the fridge, freezer, and fruit basket. Mango…check! Yogurt…check! Banana that’s not completely disgusting yet…check! I even had the mental wherewithal to write down measurements as I went, just in case it was post-worthy good.

Well, it definitely made the post-worthy cut. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. The mango and cranberry provided the perfect blend of sweet and tang, along with a healthy dose of the vitamin C that I was craving. Just what the doctor ordered on my feel yucky day. Feel free to substitute and trade out what you have on hand. That’s the joy of smoothies, after all!

Mango Cranberry Smoothie

Click for a printable version of this recipe

Ingredients

Makes 2 servings (or one if you’re feeling greedy)

  • ½ cup mango (peeled, chopped)
  • 1 banana (peeled, chopped)
  • 1 (5.3 oz.) container Chobani Mango Greek Yogurt (that’s what I had on hand, substitute to your heart’s desire)
  • 1 cup orange juice (mango or apple juice would also be yummy)
  • 1½ cup ice
  • ¼ cup cranberries

Directions - Place ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth. Sip. Feel better.

Red Lentil Soup

Savory like chili, but not as spicy, this soup is both comfort food and health food all in one delightful bowl. Lentils’ health benefits include fiber, of course, but they contribute significant amounts of folate, iron and magnesium, too.

What I like best about lentils? They are super easy to prepare. No long pre-soaks like other beans.

Red Lentil Soup

Click here for a printable version of this recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 (32 ounce) carton chicken broth
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • sour cream for garnish

Directions

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, kosher salt, black pepper, and chili powder. Cook and stir 2 minutes more until the spices are fragrant.

2. Stir in the chicken broth, lentils, and carrot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the lentils are soft, about 30 minutes.

3. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the cooking pot, or use a conventional blender, pureeing the soup in small batches and returning to the pot. If desired, do not puree all of the soup. This will leave it a little chunky. I prefer it pretty smooth.

4. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro, then season to taste with salt. Drizzle with additional olive oil and a dollop of sour cream to serve.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

These decadent treats taste just like the brand name peanut butter cups, only butter I mean, better!

This is one of those recipes that I feel necessitates a disclaimer. These are so, so good, but…the butter. Oh, so much butter. How could they not be good, right? I make these on special occasions (Christmas, Father’s Day, and most recently, Super Bowl Sunday) and cut them into small rectangles or squares so I can savor a little treat and then give the rest away or serve them at a party. Because, seriously. If these stayed in my house for too long, there’s no telling what would happen.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Click here for a printable version of this recipe

(makes 3 dozen or more depending on the size of squares/bars)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 cups peanut butter
  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs, finely crushed
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

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Melt 1 cup butter over low heat. Remove from heat.

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Crush graham crackers (I used the ziploc/spatula handle smash technique this time, but sometimes I use the food processor) until they are fine crumbs and measure 1 ½ cups.

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In a large bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar and graham cracker crumbs. Add peanut butter, pour in melted butter, and stir thoroughly to combine.

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Spread mixture in a jelly roll pan. Pat down evenly.

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To Make Topping:

Melt together 1/2 cup butter with 1 cup chocolate chips. Spread this mixture over peanut butter mixture.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Refrigerate 1/2 hour. Cut into squares. Savor the yumminess.