Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

It has been a while since cookies have been baked in my house, I think they were getting ready to revolt! My Braughler boys love their cookies so to fill their love tanks a little on this HOT summer day, I decided to turn on the air and bake up some good old chocolate chip cookies. I mixed them up, scooped them out, and that's when I saw it.... the course sea salt that sits by my oven for cooking. I had recently had some dark chocolate with sea salt and fell in love, so I grabbed that salt and sprinkled it on 3 of the cookies to test it. I may never go back! This cookie is a wonderful combination of the classic cookie we all love but with this new theme of salted desserts that are coming about. So if you have some course sea salt then have at it and if you don't, immediately go to your local grocery store and buy some! It's not just for savory anymore!
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
2 sticks of softened butter
3/4 cup of unbleached sugar
3/4 cup of brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups of unbleached flour
3/4 cup of whole wheat pastry flour (or whole wheat flour)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
Course sea salt for sprinkling on top of cookies

Mix butter until very smooth. Add in sugars and vanilla and combine. Sift in flour, salt and baking soda. Mix to combine. Fold in chocolate chips. Scoop onto cookie sheet. Sprinkle with the course salt. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Chocolate Oatmeal Zucchini muffins

If you're like me, sometimes you just need something chocolate....and if you're not like me, then consider yourself blessed. Chocolate has a way of growing it's roots deep! Thankfully I can enjoy a square of dark chocolate that has some benefits to your health. But back to these muffins. If there are muffins baked in my house, there is sure to be a line at the oven. So I needed to come up with a healthy muffin to feel good about my family gobbling up. After all, it does start off with zucchini! Why not just stay on that healthy start. So with the addition of some cocoa and a few chocolate chips, zucchini was the last thing on their minds!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1/2 cup of boiling water
2 cups of grated zucchini
3/4 cup of quick oats
1/2 cup of light olive oil or grapeseed oil
3 eggs
1 TBSP of brewed coffee (or 1 tsp vanilla extract, I love coffee in chocolate)
3/4 cup of unbleached sugar
1 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour (**flour options below)
1/2 cup of cocoa (I use Hershey's Special Dark)
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Any amount of chocolate chips (the muffins may need a bit more sugar if you were to leave the chocolate chips out)

Mix together the zucchini and oats. Pour the boiling water over that and combine. Continue the mixing with the oil, eggs, sugar and coffee. Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add in chocolate chips. Mix to combine. Grease muffin tin. Fill almost to the top. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

**** I have used Unbleached White Whole Wheat flour in place of the pastry flour. I have found this at Walmart many times. Regular unbleached flour would be fine too****

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chicken, Cranberry, Spinach and Feta Wrap with Citrus Vinegarette

Healthy and quick lunch options seems to be a balancing act that takes preparation, but it's possible when you plan ahead! I broiled some chicken and saved it in the fridge for fast meals this week and it's worked out well. Today I searched the fridge for options and came up with this wrap and if I wasn't working on portion control, I would have eaten a second one! Maybe a third. It was delicious!!!! Here's what I did.

Slice up a piece of the chicken. Spread spinach onto the whole wheat wrap, top with feta, dried cranberries and chicken. Drizzle with the citrus vinegarette. Tuck in the end to keep everything in and wrap it up! YUM YUM YUM!!!

Ingredients for the vinegarette:
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Orange Juice (and the zest if you are using fresh orange juice)
1/2 tsp of poppy seeds if you have them, it's fine if you don't
1 tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar
2-3 tsp of honey
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper

~Another option for the wrap and chicken. Dice a bit of onion and green pepper. Saute in a pan with olive oil, salt and pepper. Add in some black beans and some of the already cooked chicken, diced. Sprinkle with taco seasoning. Saute for a couple of minutes. Spread in a wrap top with spinach and some cheddar cheese. So yummy!~

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chocolate Banana Cake

There's not much better than a moist piece of chocolate cake, except for this banana chocolate cake! It's simply my easy chocolate cake from previous recipes, I cut back on the sugar a bit, but with the addition of that wonderful aroma of bananas. A simple dessert that is wonderful without icing. This one had people mmming and yumming!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Prepare 3/4 cup of boiling water

3 Bananas
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups of unbleached flour
3/4 cups of cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup of boiling water

In the mixer, mix up the bananas until smooth. Add in the sugar, milk, oil, and vanilla. Sift the dry ingredients into a seperate bowl. If you don't have anything to sift with, simply whisk the dry ingredients in the bowl until you see the lumps smoothing out. With the mixer on low, pour the dry ingredients into the wet. Slowly pour in the water until combined. Bake at 350 degrees. Bake cupcakes for about 22 minutes. A cake will take about 40. Test with toothpick. Once cooled a bit dust with powdered sugar.

I stepped this cake up by making it a layer cake. I baked it in two round pans and placed sliced bananas in between the layers.

I melted chocolate chips and drizzled over the bananas

Finished it off with ground pecans

Top with the other layer of cake and sprinkle with powdered sugar.