Peanut Butter Oat Chocolate Balls

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I’ll never forget the first time I shook my husband’s hand when we met.

It was a brief meeting but my subconscious stored it away as if it knew that moment was important before I did.

Fast forward four years and here we are, married for over two years.

One thing I love most about him is his sense of humor. He has the goofiness of Andy Dwyer from Parks and Recreation, the quirkiness of Jim Carrey, and he can do a spot-on Nacho Libre impression. He’s always making me laugh.

He also has more patience than a snail herder and I’m a very lucky gal to go through life with him.

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Yesterday was his birthday so I thought I’d share one of his all-time favorite foods.

He’d been requesting that I make a peanut butter ball recipe for awhile. Patiently (see snail herder reference above) waiting for that glorious day when they would become reality.

And now they are!

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This is an incredibly simple recipe. If you use dark chocolate with a high cacao content, I would dare call these a healthy dessert.

Peanut Butter Oat Chocolate Balls; Recipe or Not

makes 10-12 1″ balls

  • 3/4 c. creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 c. rolled oats
  • 3 T. honey
  • 1/2 c. dark chocolate chips or broken up chocolate bar* (health bonus points for chocolate with at least 70% cacao)
  • 1/2 T. coconut oil  (use canola oil if you don’t have coconut oil)

 The prep: In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, oats, and honey. Form 1″ balls and place them on a wax paper covered baking sheet that will fit in your freezer. Put the baking sheet in the freezer for at least 10 minutes. Next, melt the chocolate over a double boiler, adding in the coconut oil. Once the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, dunk each peanut butter ball in the chocolate, making sure the whole surface is covered. Lift the ball out of the chocolate with a fork and let the excess drip off, then place the ball back onto the baking sheet. Once all the peanut butter balls are covered, place them in the freezer for at least 10 minutes (if you can wait that long) then transfer to the fridge. Store them in the fridge until you serve them.

*We’re dark chocolate people so I haven’t tried milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate. It couldn’t possibly be bad though. ;) End disclaimer.

 

Maple Coconut Oatmeal

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Alternate titles for this post were:

  • My Current Breakfast Obsession
  • Let’s Put Coconut Oil in E’rythang
  • Maple & Coconut = BFF’s 4 Life
  • How To Stop Hitting the Snooze Button

If you want to start your day off right, start it with a bowl of this oatmeal.

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It’s difficult to describe, specifically, the taste of this oatmeal. It’s neither overly maple-y nor overly coconut-y but the blend of the two is perfectly balanced for a delightful and sweetened oatmeal. Perfectly paired with coffee, of course. ;)

Maple Coconut Oatmeal; Recipe or Not

serves 2

  • 1 1/3 c. rolled oats
  • 2 2/3 c. milk (I used almond.)
  • small pinch of salt
  • 2 spoonfuls unrefined virgin coconut oil
  • 4-6 T. maple syrup

In a medium pot, bring the oats, milk, and salt to a boil over medium heat. Monitor, stir, and reduce heat if needed until the oats have absorbed the liquid, about 15 minutes or so. Divide the oatmeal up in two bowls, stir in the coconut oil and maple syrup. Enjoy!

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Mini Pepper Nachos

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A few weeks ago my husband and I were over at my parent’s house and I stumbled upon my diary from when I was nine. It included such treasures as this:

Dear Diary,

It’s me, Jordan. I just wanted to say that I love writing in this diary.

Love, Jordan

PS – I will probably write again later!

My family and I couldn’t stop laughing at the funny musings of my nine year old self.

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Ironically, I turned twenty-five over the weekend and it has me feeling like I’m really an adult now, as if the last few years were just the preteen stage of adulthood.

The good news is whether I’m a real adult or not, I can still stuff my face with nachos. Nachos are for all ages!

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I made dinner out of these nachos but they could certainly be appetizers as well. They will satisfy your cheesy nacho craving while giving you a boost in your veggie intake. Mini pepper nachos for the win. :)

Mini Pepper Nachos; adapted from my sis-in-law, Emily

serves 4-6 as an appetizer, serves 2 for dinner

10-15 mini peppers*, cut in half, remove seeds
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast**, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 medium onion, diced
1- 1 1/2 c. shredded cheese (I used a combo of pepper jack & monterey jack.)
Dash of chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, salt, & pepper to season the chicken
1 T. olive oil
Tomato & cilantro for topping
Salsa & guacamole for dipping

The Prep: Preheat oven to 350°. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the chicken for about 10-12 minutes, seasoning with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Add in the onion and continue cooking until the chicken is no longer pink inside and the onions are becoming translucent, 2-3 minutes. In an oven proof skillet or 9×9 baking dish, lay the pepper halves on the bottom, next layer on the chicken & onions, top with the cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the peppers are heated through. Top with fresh tomatoes and cilantro. Dip in salsa and guacamole.

*If you can’t find mini peppers, cut regular bell peppers into 2 inch pieces. I would estimate 2-3 bell peppers to be equivalent.

**You could also use beef or turkey or for a vegetarian option, use black or pinto beans. Use the same seasonings.

Pineapple Crisp with Coconut Crumb Topping

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Do you ever have those weeks when everything just feels extra chaotic? By the end of each day your brain feels like mush and you wonder how you’ll get through the next day.

It’s been one of those weeks.

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I’m really looking forward to catching my breath over this long weekend, celebrating the 4th of July and my birthday. (Yay! Turning 25!)

I’m usually all about pie for the 4th of July. This year, however, I’m taking a more simple approach.

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This crisp is as simple as it gets with a hands-on time of about 10-15 minutes. That’s it! Then it bakes for 30 minutes or so and dessert is ready. The tropical flavors of pineapple and coconut are just the thing to sit back, relax, and pretend you’re at the beach. And if you’re actually going to the beach, can I come too? :)

Pineapple Crisp with Coconut Crumb Topping; Recipe or Not

serves 4 using a 9×9 baking dish, see adaptations below for a 9×13 pan

1 pineapple, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 T. brown sugar
1/4 t. cinnamon
1 1/2 T. cornstarch

Topping:

1 c. oats
1 1/2 c. unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. chopped macadamia nuts, optional
3 T. unrefined virgin coconut oil, in a solid state
Butter or additional coconut oil to grease the pan

The Prep: Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, combine the pineapple, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch, set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, coconut flakes, brown sugar, and macadamia nuts. With clean fingers, mix in the coconut oil (this gets a little messy) until it is thoroughly combined. In a greased 9×9 baking dish, pour in the pineapple then sprinkle on the topping mixture evenly. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the top is slightly brown from toasting and the filling is bubbling. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!

Pro-tip: Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. :)

Ingredients for a 9×13 baking dish, serves 6-8

2 pineapples, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 T. brown sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
3 T. cornstarch

Topping:

1 1/2 c. oats
2 c. unsweetened coconut flakes
2/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. chopped macadamia nuts, optional
1/3 c. unrefined virgin coconut oil, in a solid state
Butter or additional coconut oil for greasing the pan

Follow the instructions above for combining the ingredients. Bake at 400° for 30-40 minutes until the top is brown from toasting and the filling is bubbling. Let cool 10 minutes.

Chicken & Mushrooms in White Wine Sauce

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Before we get into food talk…

I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting. Thank you for trying my recipes. Creating these recipes and sharing them with you brings me so much joy.

Time is a precious thing and when I think about you taking time out of your day to read a post or make a recipe, I am deeply honored. I hope I inspire you in the kitchen and inspire you to enjoy food and eat well. :)

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And speaking of eating well… let’s talk about this dish.

It has all the simplicity of a weeknight dinner with flavors to make you think you’re dining out.

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Chicken and mushrooms get a dose of sophistication with a splash of white wine. Serve over some garlic-seasoned grains for a complete meal.

Make this dish, light some candles, put the phones away, and have a little date at home… on a Wednesday! Could be fun and will definitely be delicious. :)

Chicken & Mushrooms in White Wine Sauce; Recipe or Not

serves 2-4

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 pint mushrooms, roughly chopped (I used baby bellas.)
  • 1/2 small onion, diced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine or white cooking wine
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 T. olive oil
  • fresh herbs & Parmesan for topping

Serve over your favorite grain seasoned with salt and garlic powder (Quinoa is pictured above; other ideas are brown rice, couscous or barley.)

The Prep: Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook until the chicken is no longer pink and is turning brown. Remove the chicken and put it on a plate. Drain a little of the juices remaining in the pan. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and heat the pan back up to medium heat, add the onion and sauté for a minute or two. Then add the garlic for one minute and next, the mushrooms. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of dried thyme. Add the white wine and let the mixture cook for 4-5 minutes to allow the mushrooms to absorb the wine. Add the chicken back in, stirring to make sure the chicken gets coated in the sauce and cook for another 3 minutes or so. Serve over garlic-seasoned grains and top with Parmesan and fresh herbs. Enjoy!

Homemade Crepes: Savory with Roasted Tomato Sauce & Sweet with Fruit and Yogurt

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I specifically remember the first time I ever tried a crepe. It was in 6th grade during my carpenter pants phase (yikes!). I had a French class and my teacher brought a crepe maker to class one day… probably one of my favorite days of school.

Crepes then disappeared from my life until I got married. After much encouragement from my hubby who loves savory crepes, I decided to give it a try.

It seemed a little daunting at first (how do you get them to be perfectly thin and round without a crepe maker?!) but I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t take long at all the get the hang of it.

For homemade crepes, the trick is really runny batter, a really hot pan, and master pan swirling skillz. (You know you got ‘em.)

The title of this post could actually be His & Hers Crepes. It’s probably a more accurate title anyways because that’s the situation here.

These crepes are “hers”… sweet, creamy, fruity perfection. I used greek yogurt and a combo of strawberries, nectarines, and plums for my filling. I topped it off with my favorite granola.

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And these are “his”. Filled with eggs, bacon, swiss, and topped with a creamy roasted tomato sauce & herbs. Even my sweet crepe loving self couldn’t resist them!

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Homemade Crepes; Recipe or Not

makes 8-9 crepes if using a pan with a 9″ base diameter

Crepes:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. milk (can use soy or almond)
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3 T. butter, melted
  • pinch of salt

Fillings:

Sweet: Greek yogurt, fruit, and granola. (I used lemon greek yogurt but any fruit flavor works and I used strawberries, nectarines, and plums.)

Savory: Eggs, bacon, swiss, and roasted tomato sauce (recipe below). (I used turkey bacon because that’s my hubs’ favorite. I’ve also done eggs with sautéed mushrooms and spinach and swiss which was really good.)

The Prep: Put all the crepe ingredients (not the fillings) in a blender and blend for about 30 seconds or until the mixture is totally smooth. Let the mixture set at room temperature while you get your fillings ready. Heat a non-stick pan (I recommend cast iron.) over medium heat* and spread a small amount of butter over the bottom of the pan. Once it’s hot, pour 1/3 cup of butter in the pan and quickly swirl the pan so the batter covers the bottom and forms a circle. See picture at end of post. You should see the batter darken slightly as it cooks and you may see bubbles (like cooking pancakes). After about a minute, use a spatula to gently loosen the edges and carefully get the spatula under the crepe to flip it. Cook for about 30 seconds to a minute on the other side. Repeat this process until all of the batter is cooked.

*As you are cooking the crepes, if you notice the pan is getting too hot you can turn it down a little.

Note: If you don’t use all of the crepe batter, it will keep covered in the fridge over night. Also, cooked crepes keep well covered overnight in the fridge and are easily reheated the next day.

Creamy Roasted Tomato Sauce; Recipe or Not

makes approx. 3/4 cups

  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 T. diced onion
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • pinch of your favorite herb
  • 1/4 c. half n half

The Prep: Preheat oven to 400°. On a baking sheet toss the tomato halves and onion with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes. Pour the roasted tomatoes & onion into a blender with a pinch of dried herbs and the half n half. Blend for 30 seconds. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Pour on your savory crepes!

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Lemon Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

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I know school is out but can we have a little history lesson? I promise there won’t be a quiz. :)

Chia seeds are a big food trend on the rise and all for good reason. These liiiittle seeds have a biiiig history… which I happen to find very interesting and wanted to share with you!

Chia seeds were sort of like the Clif bars of the ancient Aztec and Mayan cultures (except 10x better for you and 10x more versatile). They were used for sustainable energy, hydration, medicine, grown as crops, and used as currency. Now that’s an impressive resume.

If they were so important, why haven’t we always known about them?

That’s because Spanish conquerors came in, took over, and banned chia seeds because they were also used frequently in religious ceremonies. Bummer. We could have been eating chia seed pudding our whole lives.

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It wasn’t until a little exploration was done by some scientists and nutritionists that chia seeds were brought back into the picture.

And now here we are with articles sprouting up (I <3 seed puns.) about how nutritional they are… which is also for good reason. Chock full of fiber, omega-3’s, calcium, minerals, and blood sugar regulating properties… chia seeds’ nutritional resume is just as impressive as its history.

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We’re taking this small but mighty seed and giving it a modern look. The texture of this pudding is comparable to tapioca pudding with just the slightest crunch. The seeds soak up the liquid and turn into a gel-like consistency. The lemon and vanilla give it a really light, summery flavor. Top it with your favorite summer fruit and you’ve got a great breakfast, afternoon snack, or dessert.

Lemon Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding; Recipe or Not

serves 2 (or 4 small portions)

1/2 c. chia seeds
3 T. maple syrup
zest of one lemon (should be about 3/4-1 t. zest)
juice of half the lemon
3/4 t. vanilla extract
2 c. milk of choice (I used almond milk.)

The Prep: In a bowl, stir together the chia seeds, maple syrup, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Pour in the milk and carefully stir all the ingredients together. Cover the pudding and let it set in the fridge for 2 hours, stirring it once after 1 hour. Top with your favorite summer fruit and enjoy!

Chia seed history and health lesson brought to you by the following sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/06/03/chia-seed-benefits-_n_3379831.html

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/top-10-health-benefits-chia-seeds-6962.html

http://www.foodandnutrition.org/January-February-2014/Chia-Seeds-Tiny-Seeds-with-a-Rich-History/

http://www.chiaseeds.net.au/pages.php?pageid=10

http://www.chia.org.uk/chia-history.php