Cookies ‘n Cream Puppy Chow

After posting so many health-ified recipes lately, I think it’s about time for a good ‘ol cheat day recipe, no?  This is not Whole30-paleo-low-carb-sugar detox-Jillian Michaels approved.  Sorryimnotsorry.  So put on your stretchy pants and let’s get this party started.

My office had a “food day” to celebrate the Cardinals home opener on Monday.  Naturally, I signed up to bring a dessert and headed straight to my Pinterest board to find a recipe I have yet to try.  The lucky winner? Cookies ‘n Cream Puppy Chow.  Oh. My. Goodness.  I have since found that it is actually physically impossible to stop eating this stuff.  Trust me, the struggle is real.

IMG_20140406_195658There are a million recipes on Pinterest for this but of course I had to make a few edits….which basically means I doubled the amount of chocolate.  What’s the point if every single morsel isn’t drenched in chocolate-y goodness anyway?

Ingredients:

For “cookies”:

  • 1/2 box rice chex (about 6 cups)
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 10 Oreos, crushed

For “cream”

  • 1/2 box rice chex (about 6 cups)
  • 1 24oz pkg vanilla almond bark
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 10 Oreos, crushed

Directions:

(You will repeat this process twice, once for cookies and once for cream.)

Melt chocolate in a double boiler (like this) on the stove, stirring frequently (for a makeshift double boiler, place a smaller pot inside a slightly larger one with a small amount of water in it and heat on the stove, this helps prevent burning of the chocolate).  For an less complicated option, slowly melt the chocolate in a bowl on low in the microwave, stirring frequently.  Be careful, as chocolate burns easily.  Place the chex in a large bowl and pour the chocolate on top, then stir until combined.  Place the powdered sugar and crushed Oreos in a large ziploc bag.  Pour the chocolate covered chex into the ziploc bag, close it and shake until the sugar/cookies are distributed evenly.  Repeat for the other half of the batch.

Combine the “cookies” and “cream” into a large container.  Crush the remaining Oreos (I used a family size package for this) and mix in with the chex.

Now for the most important direction – Eat your little heart out!

 

 

Healthy Valentine’s Day Treats

I’m not sure if you would really call these recipes Valentine’s Day themed, per se, but they involve strawberries, strawberries are pink and VDay is all about pink….so Valentine’s treats it is. 😉

The first is a Chocolate Covered Strawberry Protein Smoothie.  Who doesn’t love chocolate covered strawberries?! And if I can blend them up and drink them out of a straw for breakfast, I’m all for that situation.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 c frozen strawberries
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (you can eliminate this if you use chocolate protein powder)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • handful of spinach

Directions:

Blend and enjoy!

DSC01969The next treat is a new one for me.  Davida over at The Healthy Maven is hosting a linkup for health-ified Valentine’s Day baked goods. As soon as I heard the idea, I knew I had to participate.  #1 I L.O.V.E. baked goods in all shapes and sizes. #2 I also love taking those baked goods and making them in a way that doesn’t make me feel like I need to eat it while simultaneously running on the treadmill.  I stumbled across a recipe for strawberry/chocolate paleo bread from You Fresh Naturals on Instagram and knew I had to try it. I made a couple of adjustments of my own to create Strawberry Chocolate Pecan Paleo Bread!

Strawberry Paleo BreadYes, I’m aware it looks like a dog treat. The picture really doesn’t do it justice, plus I’m not good at taking fancy food blogger pics like Davida. 🙂  It was delicious and even Matt was impressed!  Wife-win. I haven’t made paleo bread before, but I’ll definitely be trying this concept again!

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 c coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp canned coconut milk
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • pinch baking soda
  • 1/4 c chopped pecans
  • 1/4 c chopped strawberries
  • 1/4 c chocolate chips (for true paleo, use a brand like Enjoy Life)

Directions:

Place all ingredients except strawberries, pecans and chocolate chips in food processor.  Blend until combined.  Fold in remaining ingredients and pour into greased bread pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

 

Sending virtual hugs to everyone on this Valentine’s Day!  Have a great weekend!

WIAW #11: Butternut Squash Chili

Time for another round of What I Ate Wednesday! I’ll apologize in advance for the lack of photos this time around…it’s all the same, right?

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Breakfast

Scrambled eggs with more roasted breakfast “potatoes”. This time, the mix included sweet potatoes and turnips….I never thought I would like turnips, but they are quite tasty!

I also grabbed a sugar-free caramel almond milk latte (that’s quite the mouthful, isn’t it?) on the way to work. I stayed pretty full until lunch, but also grabbed a small handful of trail mix mid-morning.

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Lunch

I went to lunch with some co-workers and my boss at Crazy Bowls and Wraps, where I ordered a chicken fajita bowl, sans rice…along with a few tortilla chips.  It was really good but a little heavy on the beans and cheese, which I wasn’t expecting. No pics this time. Didn’t want to freak my co-workers out. 🙂

Dinner

Dinner was the highlight of my day. I found this recipe for Paleo Butternut Squash Chili and had to give it a try, especially since we are dealing with yet another snow day around here….is it spring yet?!

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Paired with a kale salad, it was a delicious meal…oh, and a piece (ok, two) of THIS deliciousness. Ohmygoodnessgracious this stuff is no joke. Sorry for the blurred pic. I blame the chocolate.

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I only made a couple of small changes to the recipe, but here’s how I made the chili!

DSC01961Ingredients:

  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 lb steak, cubed
  • 3 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 15oz cans fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles, diced
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1 15oz can beef broth
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp Texas chili powder (recipe calls for Chipotle but I couldn’t find it)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • salt- the recipe doesn’t call for it but I added some to my bowl (I’m a salt lover and my husband, not so much ;))

Directions:

Chop all vegetables. Brown meat in a skillet for about 5 minutes, add vegetables and cook for another 5 minutes, or until veggies are cooked about halfway.  If your roasted red peppers aren’t already diced, add them to a food processor or blender and pulse until diced (do not drain). Add the remainder of ingredients and meat/veggie mixture into a pot and simmer for 1 hour, or until the squash is tender.

Again, I do not always post every single thing I eat throughout the day, just the noteworthy meals.  I don’t want to bore you too much to death… 😉

 

Make it a great day!

 

Weekend Recap & Cookie Overload

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in our house!

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Christmas DecorMatt and have have started collecting ornaments from some of the places we have visited or that are meaningful.  Decorating the tree brings back all of the fun memories. 🙂

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(Yes, that’s a Rams Cheerleader in a veil, thanks to my amazing teammates!) 🙂

Remember how I said I was looking forward to a girls’ trip to KC for the weekend?  Welp, Mother Nature had other plans for us and it looked a little something like this:

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DSC01560We debated attempting to make the trek a little later in the morning but decided Kappa Christmas would have to be rescheduled after the holidays. Dang snow. 🙁

Onto Plan B: Cookie Extravaganza Round 2.  As luck would have it, I stayed at my parents’ house Friday night and obviously wasn’t going to drive anywhere in 8 inches of snow, so cookies it was!

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photo(We have a lot of dogs in my extended family.  These are “people cookies” but we don’t like to leave the dogs out. :))

DSC01566This year, we tried something new with these Pumpkin Gingerbread Snowballs and paleo-approved Chocolate Coconut Squares.

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Are you on sweets overload yet? No? Me neither.  Now for the recipe for two of my favorites!

Reeses-Oreo Cookies

Oreo Cake Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg Oreos (crushed)
  • 8 oz light cream cheese
  • melted semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Crush Oreos (I usually put them all in a ziploc bag and crush with my hands or a rolling pin). Pour crumbs into a bowl with the cream cheese and mix together.  Shape the dough into balls and let cool until they harden enough they don’t fall apart.  Dip in melted chocolate, sprinkle on your favorite toppings and let dry on foil or parchment paper.

Ritz Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

  • Ritz crackers
  • peanut butter
  • melted semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Place a small scoop of peanut butter in between two Ritz crackers.  Dip in melted chocolate, sprinkle on your favorite toppings and let dry on foil or parchment paper.  Yes, it’s that easy!

Now, I leave you in a chocolate coma.  You’re welcome. 🙂

Cookie Extravaganza: Recipe #1

As I mentioned last week, I had an eventful Saturday planned- cookie baking with my mom and watching Mizzou play in the SEC Championship.  Although Mizzou didn’t win 🙁 I’m still so proud that we made it to the championship at all, after only 2 years in the conference.  We’ll get ’em next year, Tigers!

DSC01554For as long as I can remember, my mom has always made what seems like a million different kinds of cookies for Christmas.  Since my sister and I have since left the “nest”, we have made it what is now one of my favorite holiday traditions and spend a day or two baking cookies together, listening to Christmas music and chatting away.  Girl time + chocolate = perfection. 🙂

DSC01547For round 1 of the cookie baking extravaganza, we made chocolate dipped pretzels, chocolate dipped Oreo balls, chocolate dipped “Reese’s” cookies, cut out sugar cookies and Magic Bars….and that’s only the beginning.  I will share the Oreo and Reese’s cookies soon, but today I wanted to give you the recipe for Magic Bars.  This recipe came from my great-grandmother and are are quite possibly my favorite out of everything we make. (I mean, if I absolutely HAVE to choose.)  If it isn’t obvious, I’ll be candid in saying these are not, in any way shape or form, healthy.  If you are going to treat yourself though, these are worth every calorie in my opinion. 😉  We did end up using organic condensed milk…so I think that justifies having two?

Magic BarsIngredients:

  • 3 cups (approx.) graham crackers, crushed
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 2 cups coconut
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk

Directions:

Crush graham crackers and mix with melted butter and sugar.  Spread in the bottom of a greased 9×13 cake pan and pack it down with a fork.  Mix chocolate chips, pecans and coconut together and pour over the graham crackers.  Pour the condensed milk evenly over the pan.  Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or until the milk starts to bubble and the edges start to turn brown.  Cut bars into desired size and enjoy every last morsel!

Stay tuned for more cookie recipes!

Have great week!

Paleo Friendsgiving

This weekend, our friends Nate and Kate invited a few friends over for a little “Friendsgiving”- Paleo style. The Paleo lifestyle is based on the “hunter-gatherer” concept- eating wholesome foods from food groups that, for lack of better words, a caveman could eat.  Fresh meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and healthful oils are some of the basics.  It doesn’t sound too difficult but when you get right down to it, there is a lot more involved than you think.  Nate and Kate are avid Cross-fitters and over the past year or so have adopted the Paleo lifestyle.  They are much more dedicated than I will ever be, but I’m always intrigued and inspired by the delicious food Kate always seems to make.  It almost makes me want to give this Paleo thing a go…almost. This Saturday, she really outdid herself and had quite the spread.  On the menu was smoked turkey, roasted butternut squash, sweet potato and bacon “biscuits”, gravy, mashed cauliflower, cranberry sauce, roasted green beans, stuffing and salad….and ALL of it was Paleo-friendly.  Full yet?

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Keeping with the theme, I made my first Paleo dish ever- dessert of course!  I found a recipe for Coconut Chocolate Brownies on PaleOMG and decided to give it a try.  I was pretty skeptical because dessert is one thing I rarely mess with but we were all actually pleasantly surprised.

IMAG0194Paleo Coconut Chocolate Brownies

(Original recipe here)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup canned full fat coconut milk (yes, you have to use full fat, I asked Kate- the paleo expert) 😉
  • 1 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt chocolate and coconut milk in a small sauce pan over low heat.  Add melted chocolate and coconut milk to a mixing bowl with eggs and mix.  Add almond flour, baking powder, sea salt and shredded coconut; continue mixing.  Pour mixture in to an 8×8 baking dish greased with coconut oil (or oil of your choice).  Sprinkle almonds on top, as well as a small handful of shredded coconut.  Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Paleo aside, we all had a fantastic night.  Great food, great friends…Friendsgiving 2013 was a success. The healthy factor was just an added bonus. 🙂