chocolate

Chocolate Bacon Cake

I must be on a sweets kick lately :).

I wanted to make my husband a special birthday cake but still stick with the no white sugar, flour, or dairy theme.  If you lived here, you would hear how much bacon is requested each day for at least one of our meals.  After doing a long of thinking, I wondered, “What would a chocolate cake with bacon mixed in it and on top of it taste like?”  All my conscience kept answering was, “Sounds pretty amazing to me.”  I was very excited to give it a try and make it a nice surprise for his birthday.

Trouble is, I haven’t been able to find a good recipe yet for a homemade chocolate cake that is my “go-to.”  I was browsing online, and saw a link for the Paleo Baking Company, and began looking at their mixes.  The ingredients for the chocolate cake and muffin mix are simple:  cocoa, coconut flour, sea salt, and baking soda.  You have to add eggs, coconut oil (or butter), honey (or syrup), and water.  I decided to take a chance and try this mix.  Yes, it is more expensive than regular cake mixes, but seeing as how a birthday is a once a year event, I didn’t feel bad splurging a bit.  The cake turned out great; it was moist and didn’t taste like coconut at all (I am not too fond of coconut flavor!)

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Chocolate Muffins

This has been a week of cravings for me:  bad cravings.  I have wanted ice cream, cake with frosting, cookies, pretty much anything junk food that is really bad for me.  I am of the belief that sometimes those cravings just won’t go away until you indulge in whatever junk you keep craving; however, now I am able to do so without totally “violating” my diet changes, and risking feeling like crap later or the next day.  We have tried several muffin recipes, and this one is on the list that has been made several times.  There is not a huge list of ingredients, and it’s chocolate, enough to help with a girl’s sweet cravings :).

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Chocolate Zucchini Bread

You can’t post something on Valentine’s Day without it being related to chocolate, right?  🙂

I was at first a little disappointed when I remembered that I usually get a plate of amazing chocolate covered strawberries with my beautiful flowers from McCabe’s (shameless plug), and that this year I can’t have these strawberries.  But, this feeling quickly passed.  To me, it really is an “addiction” factor, or a psychological “want,” my body doesn’t need any of that to be healthy.  And the longer you go without, the easier it gets to just brush off those junk food wants and needs.  Or, you just go online and find a recipe that better suits your diet and make a “healthier” version of that chocolate covered strawberry, and it turns out pretty good itself ;).

Back to the recipe.  This bread makes a great snack, part of breakfast, or dessert.  It is hard for me to call it bread now that I’ve had it though, as my husband and I both agreed that it reminds us more of cake, and if you put some chocolate frosting on it, it would taste just like chocolate cake.  I have to admit with the first piece I ate I wasn’t sure if I was a fan of it, because it just didn’t seem sweet; however, the more I had, the more I liked it.  When it’s not as sweet, you can sometimes appreciate the other flavors involved ;).

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Double Chocolate Cookies

If there was a category for “favorite sweet treats,” these cookies would definitely be included.  They were the first dessert that I made after finding out about the dietary changes I would be making.  The recipe was given to me by a co-worker, and I remember her saying something to the effect of, “I wouldn’t feel bad about feeding this to one of my kids for breakfast.”  A cookie for breakfast?  Yes, please!!  🙂

Although it is very tempting to eat all of these before even packing them up into a storage container, I have to still consider them “dessert.”  On top of that, although the chocolate chips are dairy-free, they do still contain evaporated cane sugar, which I am supposed to limit in my diet as well.  I bet they would still be good without the chocolate chips though.

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No-Bake Cookies

Seeing this recipe brought back memories of ~7-8 years ago.  I was in PT school, living by myself, and it was hard cooking for one (and being on a grad student budget).  When I had a sweet tooth, often I would bake something and then share with some of my classmates.  When I didn’t have the time, patience, and/or ingredients to bake, I would grab a pan and make no-bake cookies.  This was also at a time that I was doing a lot of running to train for 1/2 marathons, so I didn’t feel guilty for making a pan of no-bake cookie “dough” and eating it straight out of the pan (it is possible this served as dinner at times as well).  I figured that I would “burn it off” when doing a long run the next day.  I’m pretty sure that the recipe I used contained at least 2 cups of white sugar, as well as containing milk.

Gone are the days of having cookie dough for dinner, but the occasional craving for a no-bake cookie remains every now and again.  So, when I found this recipe I was glad to give it a try.  The original recipe can be found at:

http://sweettreatsbyshayna.blogspot.com/2011/10/no-bake-paleo-cookies.html.

I couldn’t imagine “ruining” my no-bake cookies with coconut flakes ( I just can’t make myself like the taste or texture of most things coconut), so I decided to substitute gluten-free quick-cooking oats.  It took a little more than 1 cup to make it so that the cookies were not too runny.  I think that next time I make these I will use less pecans.  I didn’t mind the flavor of them in the cookies, but it seemed like they were always getting stuck in my teeth :0

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Trying New Things: Avocado

An avocado is not something I was ever tempted to try until recently.  The first time I had guacamole was ~2 years ago when we visited Cancun.  Surprisingly, the guacamole, salsa, and chips were better than my actual dinner entrée.  It had such a nice lime and garlic flavor that I forgot that it had avocado in it.

There is something about the overall appearance of an avocado, as well as the texture once you cut it in half, that just didn’t appeal to me.  I think most people would agree that they would tend to eat food that looks more appetizing over one that doesn’t look visually appealing.  To me, an avocado isn’t “pretty.”  On top of that, I sometimes tend to have an issue with foods that have “different” textures.  Once you cut it in half and start to scoop it out, the avocado falls into that texture category to me.

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When I started looking into it, the nutrition benefits of avocado definitely outweighed the fact that it’s not “pretty” and has a “weird” texture.  They are high in potassium, fiber, vitamin E, folic acid, and “good fat,” amongst other vitamins/nutrients.  They have anti-inflammatory properties and are good for blood vessel and heart health.  The list goes on.

When I was looking for some “sweet treat” recipes, I began to see several that used avocado.  My initial thought was, “How can that be any good?”  A dessert that tastes like avocado sounded disgusting.  When I read reviews of the recipes, however, I found that most commented on how moist/creamy the avocado made the dessert.  There were no complaints about the dessert tasting like avocado.  So, I thought, I am making so many other changes in my diet, maybe it’s time to try something totally new.  What did I have to lose?

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Peanut butter-a-holic

I LOVE peanut butter.  If you know me very well, you know the extent of truth to this statement.  I am the one who packed a whole jar of cinnamon raisin peanut butter and a plastic spoon in my pack for a day hike in Oregon.  While everyone else ate their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I ate spoonfuls of peanut butter.  I have gotten bags full of peanut butter packs, peanut butter bars, Reese’s cups of all shapes and sizes, and jars of peanut butter for birthdays, Christmas, and going away gifts.  Puts a smile on my face every time.

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