Kitchen Adventures

I’ve mentioned a few times how, ever since I started working in the city again, Joey has taken on a lot of the cooking.

It’s great for me because I’m usually exhausted at the end of the day, great for him because he actually really enjoys it, and great for us because it saves money and we don’t have to wait until 10 o’clock at night to eat.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen a few examples of me braggingsharing the things Joey has made, and because my Kitchen Adventures have become few and far between, I thought it could be fun to start sharing his recipes on the blog.

I’m accepting recommendations for what we should call this segment. So far, all I’ve got is “Joe on the Range.” (Yup, this from a girl in marketing. Sigh.)

We’re kicking off with Joey’s Cinnamon Crunch Toast Waffles, the perfect choice for a day-off breakfast.

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Stop drooling.

When we found out we both had the same day off of work, I requested a lazy-day brunch of waffles. Joey set to work. Here’s how to make ’em.

CINNAMON CRUNCH TOAST WAFFLES

Ingredients
2 cups pancake mix (Joey used Aunt Jemima)
1 cup water
1/2 cup egg nog
2 t brown sugar
1 T cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 c crushed graham crackers
1 banana, sliced
Maple syrup

Instructions
1. Turn on waffle iron. Spray lightly with cooking spray.
2. Combine pancake mix, water, egg nog, brown sugar, and 1 T cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly.
3. Once waffle iron is hot, pour half cup of batter mixture and cook waffle to desired crispness.
4. Plate cooked waffle and sprinkle with crushed graham crackers and cinnamon. Top with banana slices and maple syrup if desired.
5. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite lazy-day breakfast recipe?

I feel obligated to tell you that I don’t make much of an effort to “eat clean” in my every day life.

I fully recognize the benefits, but try not to be one of those all-or-nothing types when it comes to diet, exercise, or pretty much anything else. Plus, I just really like cheese and wine and ice cream. I don’t consider this a character flaw.

That being said, I do try to make healthy choices where I can. And as a lifetime owner of one of the biggest sweet tooths (sweet teeth? Grammar.) on the planet, I’m always excited when I find a more nutritious version of my favorite desserts for the every day.

Because as much as I’d like to, I can’t eat cheese and wine and ice cream every day.

One of my ALL-TIME favorite foods? Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

(Is it just me, or did you mouth start watering when I said that? Just me? Okay, moving on.)

But, again, I can’t just eat chocolate chip cookies every day if I want to be able to fit in my clothes every day. It’s a choice. A very, very difficult choice at times. And I’ve tried those “healthy cookie dough dips” on Pinterest that are made from chickpeas and sweetener. They are NOT delicious. They do not solve my problem.

Which is why I was SO EXCITED when I spotted this pin on Pinterest:

Screen Shot 2013-08-06 at 10.03.24 PMBananas? Oats? Chocolate chips and peanut butter??? I love ALL those things. And this recipe could even be considered (GASP) clean??? (I think? I guess peanut butter and chocolate probably aren’t technically clean, right? Well, save your judgement until I tell you more about those ingredients.)

As if by fate, I also received an email from Kallari Chocolate asking if I wanted to sample their product. Kallari is a cacao grower that makes gourmet chocolate in Ecuador using biodiverse cacao groves. They use organic heirloom cacao, gourmet recipes (no emulsifiers, artificial flavors and half the sugar), and minimal processing to provide a chocolate experience unique from other chocolate chips for baking.

Plus, they retain most of their farms in primary and secondary rainforest, with an average of 1.5 acres of cacao planted per family, less than 2% of our total territory. This allows them to earn a living and provide for our families without sacrificing natural resources or forgetting our cultural traditions. (They also have a Kickstarter if you’d like to help support this honorable initiative.)(SUPPORT THE EARTH-FRIENDLY CHOCOLATE, PEOPLE.)

Anyway.

So a couple of nights ago, I decided to finally make the cookies. I went to click on the link from the pin, and LO AND BEHOLD, the recipe it linked to was nothing like the recipe in the pin caption. It linked to this.

Pinterest, this is why you are annoying. THIS.

The actual recipe called for a bunch of ingredients I didn’t have, and wasn’t even baked like a real cookie.

Though I was a bit more apprehensive, I decided to just go with what was written in the caption. Worst case scenario, I figured the globs of “cookie dough” would just bake down into a granola bar-type consistency. I could still eat that. (Obviously my standards are SUPER high, right?)

So I combined:

2 bananas, peeled
1 cup quick oats
1 heaping spoonful of natural peanut butter
1 bar Kallari dark chocolate (85% cocoa)

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I mashed everything together with a potato masher and baked 1 T rounds on a parchment lined baking pan at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.

When they came out, they looked nothing like the original pin (BECAUSE THE RECIPE WAS TOTALLY DIFFERENT), but they DID somewhat resemble chocolate chip cookies. Sort of.

IMG_5092The actual consistency was a little mushier than real cookies, but the oats gave the “cookies” enough chewy texture to satisfy the craving. The chocolate I used wasn’t particularly sweet because of the high cocoa content, but it wasn’t at all bitter either, and the bananas and peanut butter added sweetness.

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All in all, I’m pretty pleased with this accidental recipe. Even better, it’s practically a health food! COOKIES FOR HEALTH.

What’s your favorite healthy dessert that tastes like a not-healthy dessert? Lord knows I’m always in the market.

I know what you’re thinking, and yeah, I have been doing a lot of Fage recipes lately. No, these posts are not sponsored. I just really like the yogurt.

Anywho, let’s talk lunch, shall we?

Over the holiday break, I tried to focus on making healthier lunches for myself that I wouldn’t necessarily be able to make when I was back at work. (Nothing like working right next to your kitchen.)

I had read in a magazine about tuna and hummus wraps, but I didn’t have any hummus on hand. What I did have? The ingredients to make my own.

Here’s my recipe for Healthy Tuna & Spicy Fage Hummus Wraps. First, the hummus.

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Ingredients:
6 oz. Fage Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1-2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
Juice from half a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Hot sauce to taste

Combine the all above ingredients except paprika and hot sauce in a food processor until creamy. Then add spicier ingredients to taste.

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To make the wraps, combine about half a cup of the hummus with a can of drained tuna, 2-3 stalks of celery (chopped), and 1-2 cups of spinach chopped.

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Spread in a whole wheat wrap with wasabi mustard and a sprinkling of low-fat cheese.

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And enjoy!

So, we made it to the new year. Go us, right?

Like most people, I tend to use the start of the year or month to make new goals for myself. Nothing like a fresh start, ya know? And while I’m not looking to lose any significant amount of weight or anything, I am always interested in new ways to eat healthier.

The problem? I like foods that aren’t necessarily the most nutritious choices. Like, chocolate. And cookies. And chocolate. And ice cream. And chocolate.

So the mission was clear: find new, healthier (grumble…) ways to consume chocolate.

And lately, I’ve been really into recipes that involve my favorite healthy ingredient, Greek yogurt. (I put it in everything, remember?) So when I started seeing a lot of homemade Greek frozen yogurt recipes popping up on Pinterest, I knew what I had to do.

And thus, Chocolate Almond Frozen Yogurt was BORN.

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Well, actually, it’s more accurate to say it was tweaked. Because I definitely am not the first person to attempt this. But here’s my favorite way to make it:

Ingredients:
1-1 1/2 cups Fage Non-Fat Greek Yogurt (You could use any kind of Greek yogurt, but this is my favorite kind)
1 1/2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2-5 drops Clear Liquid Stevia
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1-2 shakes cinnamon
1/2 banana, sliced (optional)

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Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Freeze for about 15 minutes, stirring mixture every 5 minutes.

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Top with banana slices. (Strawberry slices would also be excellent.)

And that’s it! It’s cold, creamy, and actually good for you. If you were less concerned with calories, I think it would also be fantastic with a tablespoon or two of natural peanut butter blended in. Just saying.

What are some of your favorite healthy recipe tweaks?

So guess what. Turns out you guys really like Nutella. Who knew?

It was so cool for me yesterday to have three friends send me photos of how they had made my Nutella Hot Chocolate (and at least two others said they were going to make it the first chance they got):

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How fun is that? If anyone else tries it, I’d love to see. You can either post to Instagram and tag me (@justinelorelle) or post them to my Facebook page.

Come on, didn’t your parents teach you how to share?

Joey had to work late last night, which made last night as good a time as any to try out a new Single Girl Meal (SGM).

Well, maybe not a meal exactly (I ate a quesadilla), but definitely a Single Girl Dessert.

And that’s how Nutella Hot Chocolate was born.

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Per the SGM code, this treat had to be easy to make and require only ingredients you are likely to already have on hand.

Well, if a single girl doesn’t have a jar of Nutella on hand, she’s doing something wrong.

Here we go:

Nutella Hot Chocolate Recipe

Ingredients:
1-2 tablespoons of Nutella (or other chocolate hazelnut sauce…I guess)
1-1 1/2 cups almond milk (or regular milk…I guess)
Dash of cinnamon

1. Put Nutella in small sauce pan on medium heat. As soon as chocolate reaches a slightly melty texture, add milk.

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2. Stir continually until chocolate and milk are heated.

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3. Add a dash of cinnamon. Continue to stir until all ingredients are heated through.

4. Pour into mug. DRINK.

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Also goes well with two Oreos. OR SO I’VE READ.

So that’s it! As if you needed another reason to eat (or drink) Nutella, amiright?

Enjoy!