Toast with Chocolate Yogurt Spread

For some reason, I can go a whole month eating the same breakfast every day, only to be suddenly sick of it. This has been true for cereal, oatmeal, bars, you name it.

So, in an effort to avoid breakfast burn out, I’ve been trying to change it up on a more regular basis. I’ve been experimenting – with one catch – it has to be quick and easy.

This morning, rushing to make breakfast before getting out the door, I decided to try making a spread out of Greek yogurt. If you read this blog regularly, you know I LOVE chocolate. So this breakfast was right up my alley.

Bonus – because I used Greek yogurt, it’s full of protein, meaning (hopefully) I’ll be filled till lunch.

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Toast with Chocolate Yogurt Spread

Ingredients:

1 serving plain or vanilla Greek yogurt

1 tbsp cocoa powder (I like dark chocolate)

2 pieces toast of choice

sweetner if desired

Directions:

Mix yogurt, cocoa powder, and sweetener. Toast your bread and spread with yogurt mixture. Easy, healthy, and delicious!

 

22nd Birthday Cake (Chocolate Cookie Dough Layer Cake)

Birthdays are always cause for celebration, and what’s a better way to celebrate then with a big and delicious cake? To me, the more chocolate the better – so I made this chocolate cookie dough cake with dark chocolate frosting for my birthday this past week. With dense chocolate cake, chewy cookie, and think frosting this definitely was a treat (if anyone wants to try it I still have some leftover in my fridge 🙂 – this cake was a monster). Please make this next time you want a decadent dessert. I can’t recommend it enough.

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Chocolate Cookie Dough Layer Cake

serves a lot 🙂

Ingredients:

1 batch of your favorite cookie dough (I love Nestle Toll House – follow the directions on the package)

3 ounces chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee

3 cups sugar

2 1/2 cups flour (I used whole wheat, but all-purpose works well too)

1 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp baking powder

1 1/4 tsp salt

3 large eggs

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cup milk + 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice (or just 1 1/2 cup buttermilk)

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup greek yogurt

2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder

1/2 cup almond milk

1 tsp vanilla

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Directions:

Begin by preheating your oven to 300°F and greasing your pans.

Make your cookie dough recipe and set aside.

Prepare your “buttermilk” by combining milk and lemon juice. Set aside. While your coffee is brewing, place chocolate chips in a bowl and then pour hot coffee over them. Let mixture sit, stirring every so often, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

In a big bowl, mix sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another big bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer until thickened and lemon colored. Slowly add oil, buttermilk mixture, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to the eggs. Beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Divide the batter between three pans. Add cookie dough in, placing about 1 tsp sized balls throughout the pans. Add as many as you like. Bake in the middle of the oven until a tester comes out clean in the center, about 1 hour.

To make frosting, combine yogurt, powdered sugar, almond milk, vanilla, and cocoa powder. Mix until smooth.

Once cake has cooled, assemble by frosting in between the layers. Top with candles, blow them out, and then dig in 🙂

 

Chocolate cake recipe adapted from:

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2007/07/you-are-owed-chocolate-cake/

 

Chocolate Banana Spread

It’s so easy to get in a breakfast rut. Grabbing a bar on your way out the door or pouring a bowl of cereal is super easy. But when I don’t nourish myself with a healthy and hearty breakfast I find my stomach grumbling and attention waning far before it’s time for lunch. So I try to always make something filling and healthy to start my day out on a good note. I’m usually an oatmeal person, but yesterday the thought of eating another bowl of oats just did not seem appealing.

I love Ezekiel Bread, and always keep the cinnamon raisin variety in my freezer.  I decided to make this delicious spread to put on two pieces of toast and enjoy with my morning coffee. This spread would also be delicious on oatmeal or mixed in with yogurt. Get creative but enjoy!

You may be thinking, chocolate for breakfast?! I admit that I’m a chocolate addict but I love chocolate at any time of day. However, the added sugar in most chocolate things is hard early in the day (hello 10am crash). I keep unsweetened cocoa powder in my pantry because it’s an easy way to add chocolate to recipes without extra sugar. The mashed banana in this recipe is so sweet it doesn’t need any extra sugar! Decadent but healthy breakfast 🙂

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Chocolate Banana Spread

serves one

Ingredients:

1 very ripe banana

1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup almond milk

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Directions:

Mash your banana in a bowl. Add in cocoa powder, and add milk a little at a time until you achieve desired consistency. Spread on your toast and enjoy!

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Dark Chocolate Pretzel Brownies

Make these brownies asap. Make them because it’s Thursday, make them because it won’t stop raining, make them for yourself, make them for your friends. Whatever you do, make these brownies. They are seriously SO good. Don’t worry – there’s no hidden chickpeas or black beans in these. They are just delicious fudgy brownies.

Not only are they some of the best brownies I’ve ever tasted, they also take 10 minutes to mix and 25 to cook, so you’ll have fresh baked brownies in the time it would take you to drive somewhere and buy them. Plus they mix up in one bowl, so dishes are pretty easy.

Fair warning, if you make them for yourself you might eat the whole pan in one sitting 🙂

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Dark Chocolate Pretzel Brownies 

Ingredients:

10 tbsp unsalted butter

1 and 1/4 cups sugar

3/4 cup + 2 tbsp cocoa powder (I love Hershey’s Special Dark)

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

2 large eggs

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 and 1/4 cup dark chocolate covered pretzels

1/3 cup chocolate chips (I use semi-sweet)

Sea Salt


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Directions:

Preheat your oven to 325°. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil (if you leave extra hanging over the sides of the pan you can pull the brownies easily out of the pan when they’re cooked).

Cut your butter into chunks. Place it in a large microwave-safe bowl with the sugar and cocoa powder. Microwave for 30 second increments, mixing between each, and continue until melted. Once it’s melted, stir in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time and mix. Whisk in flour until fully combined. Your batter will be very thick. Add chocolate covered pretzels into the batter, saving some for the top.

Add the batter into your prepared pan. Spread it evenly across the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the top with chocolate chips and your remaining pretzels. Add sea salt to the top. Bake for 25 minutes. To test if the brownies are done, poke with a toothpick or fork – it should come out clean or with only a few crumbs. Cool brownies, cut, and enjoy!

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adapted from: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/09/29/triple-chocolate-pretzel-brownies/

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Banana Bread “Batter”

Another healthy cookie dough recipe! (Or dessert hummus…depends on who you’re serving it to 😉 ) This one is banana flavored and tastes like chocolate chip banana bread batter…yum! The best part is you can eat a whole bowl without getting a stomach ache (what happens every time I bake banana bread and eat the dough…).

I served this with crackers and pretzels to dunk in, but serve with whatever sounds good to you! Or eat it with a spoon straight from the bowl. Dinner and dessert all at once 🙂

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Banana Bread “Batter”

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas

2 bananas

2 tbsp vanilla

1/4 almond milk (regular milk would work too)

3/4 cup rolled oats

1/8 tsp salt

brown sugar or baking stevia to taste

as many chocolate chips as you chose (I like a lot – semi-sweet tastes the best)

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Directions:

Mix chickpeas and bananas in a food processor until combined. Remove, place in a large bowl, and stir in remaining ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Note: adjust the amount of almond milk for a more runny or more thick consistency. Eat up!

 

Salted Caramel Chocolate Covered Cashews

Happy Valentine’s Day! Sorry for the silences this week, but don’t worry, I’m back! And boy do I ever have a great recipe for you today. Try these chocolate covered cashews as soon as possible. They are easy to make and taste SO delicious. If you need a last minute (really last minute) Valentine’s gift these are perfect, or just as great for any other day of the week. 

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Salted Caramel Chocolate Covered Cashews 

Ingredients:

3 oz semi sweet chocolate

8 Medjool dates

1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews 

Sea Salt

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Directions:

Fill a small pot with about 1 inch of water and heat until boiling. Reduce to low heat and place a heat-safe bowl on top. Add chocolate into bowl and melt, stirring occasionally. 

Meanwhile, pit the dates and halve each one, and then cut each half into thirds (so you’ll have 6 pieces from each date). 

Take a piece of date and wrap around a cashew and then dip it in the melted chocolate. Mix around to make sure the cashew is coated in chocolate.  Place a layer of aluminum foil on a cookie sheet and place chocolate-dipped cashew onto it. Sprinkle with sea salt. Continue until all cashews are dipped.

Place the tray in the freezer for about 15 minutes or until ready to serve. Yum!

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adapted from: http://produceonparade.com/salted-caramel-chocolate-cashews/

Dark Chocolate Chai Oatmeal

Today is 30° and sunny and sort of feels like the summer after the weather we’ve been having. Okay – that might be an exaggeration. But it was lovely to wake up and go for a run outside – I’ve been missing that sun and vitamin D! After my morning run I decided to make some oatmeal (shocking…) and love this combination. It’s like a cross between my Fudgy Chocolate Banana Oatmeal and my Chai Tea Latte Oatmeal. It’s super delicious and easy and as always is a great way to start your day and keep you energized. I added some peanut butter, cinnamon, and my favorite cereal. Yum.
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Dark Chocolate Chai Oatmeal
serves one
Ingredients:
1/2 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup chai tea (I used Oregon Chai Tea mix, but brewing a cup of tea would work just as well)
a pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s Special Dark)
1/4 cup almond milk (or any type of milk)
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Directions:
Mix oats, water, chai tea, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for two minutes. Remove, stir, and add in cocoa powder and milk. Microwave for one more minute. Stir again and add toppings if desired!
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adapted from: http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2014/01/08/chocolate-chai-tea-oatmeal/

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (aka best thing ever…)

I LOVE cookie dough. In fact if I could I would probably eat it everyday. I used to sneak spoonfuls out of the bowl when my mom was baking cookies and everyone knows the best type of ice cream is cookie dough. Imagine my happiness when I came across this recipe for healthy cookie dough. Cookie dough that I could eat by the spoonful and feel great about it? I’m in.

If you’re someone who doesn’t like to think of weird ingredients in their favorite food, tell your self this recipe is a dessert hummus and you will be so happy you tried it. I admit that it probably won’t fool anyone into thinking they’re eating a butter-laden, sugar-filled bowl of real cookie dough, but it will taste so good they won’t even care. Made with chickpeas, oats, peanut butter and chocolate chips, this recipe is a great appetizer or dessert for a crowd (or let’s be real sometimes I just eat a bowl of it for dinner – like last night, hi Katlin).

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Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas

1/4 cup nut butter (I use pb2)

2 tbsp vanilla

1/4 almond milk (regular milk would work too)

1/4 cup oats

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp baking soda

brown sugar or baking stevia to taste

as many chocolate chips as you chose (I like a lot – semi-sweet tastes the best)

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Directions:

Mix all ingredients besides oats and chocolate chips in a food processor or blender and mix until combined. Remove and put in large bowl, stir in oats and chocolate chips and serve! I like to eat it with crackers, cut up apples, or just by the spoonful. Be creative! I’m sure that pretty much anything would taste good dipped in here…

Adapted from:

http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/05/23/want-to-eat-an-entire-bowl-of-cookie-dough/

Chocolate “Frosting” Oatmeal

Sunday morning means oatmeal. Although to be honest so does Monday. And Tuesday. And Wednesday…. Right now I could eat oatmeal every day of the week. Since chocolate is good at any time, I love incorporating it into my breakfast. My new favorite oatmeal topping is so healthy and easy to make but tastes like you’re eating a big bowl of chocolate frosting for breakfast. Sounds like heaven to me 🙂

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Chocolate “Frosting Oatmeal

Ingredients

1/2 cup quick oats

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp vanilla

1 cup water

1 ripe or browning banana (a good use for old bananas you have left!)

1 1/2 tbsp dark chocolate cocoa powder (I like Hershey’s)

1/4 cup almond milk

sweetener if desired

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Directions:

Put 1/2 cup quick oats in a microwave safe bowl. Add cinnamon, sweetener if desired, 1 tbsp vanilla extract, and 1 cup water. Microwave on high for 2 minutes (or according to oat’s directions).

While oats are cooking, mash banana, add almond milk and cocoa powder, and stirs until combined. Add more or less almond milk for a thicker or thinner consistency. Add to top of oatmeal and heat for 30 more seconds. Remove from microwave and enjoy warm. Top with some cereal or granola for a little extra crunch.

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Sweet Potato Pancakes

Let’s talk about pancakes. Although this blog may not yet reflect it (aside from the heading – those rainbow pancakes are also delicious), I love pancakes. I could probably eat them everyday. And after a long Monday they were exactly what I needed for dinner. Sweet, savory, and delicious, these pancakes warmed me up and gave me energy to head back to the library (eww). Regardless of what meal you make these for (they’d be an awesome Sunday brunch, but since they take only about ten minutes to make, they’re also great for a weekday morning when you have a little extra time or need a little extra pep in your step.) This particular recipe is not vegan, as we used an egg, but feel free to substitute one flax egg (3 Tablespoons water to 1 Tablespoon flax meal) for the regular egg.

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Sweet Potato Pancakes

Serves two

Ingredients:

1 sweet potato

3/4 cup almond milk (sub any milk in here)

1 egg (or flax egg if vegan)

2 tbsp applesauce

1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil

1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 tbsp brown sugar

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp cinnamon

*Optional: Instead of 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, add 1/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup pumpkin pancake mix – Trader Joe’s has a great one – for a little twist on the flavor. Dark chocolate chips are also a great addition!

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Directions:

Cook the sweet potato with preferred method. I popped it in the microwave for 6 minutes (or until soft). Mash it in a bowl and add remaining wet ingredients. Whisk together. (The less you mash the potatoes, the chunkier they will be. I personally loved the bigger pieces of potato, but if you want a smoother pancake make sure to mash them well.)

In another bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Add wet to dry and stir until mixed.

Heat a skillet on the stove and add a little oil or non-stick spray. Pour the batter to form desired sized pancakes. Cook about 2 minutes on each side. If adding chocolate chips, place them on top of the batter before flipping.

Top with syrup, honey, or my favorite, pb2 (the chocolate pb2 was way too good of a combination with these pancakes).

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adapted from: http://www.runningtothekitchen.com/2013/10/sweet-potato-chocolate-chip-pancakes/

Shared on Healthy Vegan Fridays: http://www.carrieonvegan.com/ and http://pureella.com/ and http://www.simplelivingeating.com/