The more and more I eat dark chocolate the more I prefer it over milk chocolate, which was not the case even a year ago. I tend to use good quality semi-sweet or bittersweet in my baking now, and the results are a sophisticated not overly sweet taste that is so satisfying. I love making homemade (not in a box) brownies, it’s so easy and again its nice to know exactly everything in your baking. I make these brownies with spelt flour, which is an ancient healthy whole grain in the wheat family. It’s like a distant cousin to our modern day whole wheat. It’s not gluten free but its a great alternative to wheat and can be used in place of it with a 1 to 1 ratio. I love it, it looks like wheat flour, it has a nice nutty flavor but it doesn’t overpower in recipes like whole wheat flour can tend to do. It’s not to hard to find, if your local grocery store has a natural foods section you can find it there or if you are near an Ocean Job Lot they carry the Bob’s Red Mill brand which is what I use. Make this brownie the next time you have a chocolate craving (that’s why I did it) they are so incredibly moist and decadent.
Dark Chocolate Spelt Brownies (adapted from Spelt Brownies)
1 stick of unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
8 ounces of semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 Large eggs (room temperature)
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
3/4 of Spelt flour OR you can split this and do 1/4 AP flour and 2 quarters spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or butter a 8 inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper. I use coconut spray from Trader Joes
2. Place butter and chocolate in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Let that melt together. Take off heat and then add the sugars. Whist in the sugars until well combined
3. Let that cool a bit before adding eggs in one at a time. the add the cocoa powder and the salt. Fold in the flour until everything is incorporated. Don’t over mix!
4. Place batter in prepared pan and baked 25-30 minutes. Make sure to cool completely before cutting into it. Cut into squares and enjoy immediately!!
I came up with this salad the other day while I was in a panic in the morning realizing that I forgot to prepare a lunch for the day. I have been trying hard not to buy lunch and thought I would have to that day. But I had a few things in my fridge and had a “make it work” moment and it turned out to be great! The night before I had grilled up chicken breast to have for a salad or to add to a quick pasta dish. I had a kale which I love for salad because it hold up to salad dressing well without wilting and is packed with nutrients and flavor. I had roasted chickpeas the day before(which is my new thing..love it) and a good chunk of blue cheese I had bought the other day. So I thought if I just pack all this up I can assemble a pretty good salad for lunch. All it takes is a little preparation the night before and you have nice gourmet salad and be the envy of all your coworkers who are drooling over your lunch! Pack the chicken in one container, and the vegetables in another. I always make my own dressings so I know what exactly is in them and they often taste better then store bought, but this is your lunch so do whatever makes your stomach happy!
Grilled Chicken Kale Salad
1-2 cups kale, cut up in bit size pieces, hard stem removed
2 pieces of chicken breast, cooked and cut into thin slices
Few pieces of thinly sliced red pepper and onion
2 TBS of roasted chickpeas
Few crumbles of Blue cheese
Assemble a bed of kale on a plate making a slight dome shape. Add the grilled chicken around the dome, then the peppers, onions and chickpeas around and on top of the salad. Add the cheese last and drizzle with your favorite dressing or the yogurt dressing below!
Creamy Yogurt Dressing
1 cup Greek plain yogurt
juice from 1 lemon
fresh thyme, sage or Italian season blend
3 TBS red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Add everything to a small bowl and whisk with a fork or small whisk, add salt and pepper to taste.
I love granola bars, it’s quick on-the-go breakfast or snack during the day. The problem is that they are super expensive (im cheap, thanks mom) and who knows what “preservatives” companies are putting in these things, and lets not even get into the amounts of sugar in these bars. So I decided to make my own, which turned out to be incredibly simple and completely addictive! I used my favorite ingredients; oatmeal, peanut butter, chocolate chips, dried cherries, flaxseeds, coconut oil, honey, nutmeg and cinnamon. You can of course put in what YOU love and mix it up each time.
Peanut Butter Flaxseed Granola Bars
3 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup crushed and whole almonds or cashews
1/4 cup dried fruit or raisins (I used dried cherries)
1/4 honey or maple syrup
2 tbs flaxseeds
2 tbs coconut oil
Few dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg
Prepare a 8×8 baking dish line with parchment paper and sprayed with baking spray. Have the parchment hanging over the sides so its easy to pull out in the end.
1. In a sauce pan add the peanut butter and honey and heat for 2-3 minutes and shut off
2. In a bowl combine the remaining ingredients and add a sprinkle of kosher salt
3. Add the peanut butter mixture and combine everything well
4. Add mixture to the prepared pan and push down tightly with your fist. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge to set for 2 hours
5. When it’s set, take out of pan and cut in squares or rectangular bars Enjoy!!