Nutella Swirl Cocoa Brownies

For a long time whenever I made brownies I would always use a boxed mix. Even though I rarely used cake mixes and love making cakes, cookies, and all kinds of other pastries from scratch with brownies it was always Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker. This wasn’t because I was particularly lazy about brownies but because in my opinion the box always tasted BETTER. Whenever I tried different brownie recipes some turned out too cakey, others too liquid-y, others didn’t have the crackly surface on top and so on. That is until I found Alice Medrich’s Cocoa Brownies Recipe.

Nutella Swirl Brownies

Nutella Swirl Brownies

Basically Alice Medrich found out that the way to create a perfect brownie in terms of texture and a crackly top is to control the amount of fat which determines the texture and the amount of sugar which creates the candy-like crackly top. So by omitting chocolate which has cocoa fat, emulsifiers and additional sugars and having only fat from butter and sugar from granulated sugar you can create a perfect brownie. The end results are super chocolatey, very fudgy and perfectly crackly every time. Whenever I make these they are a hit and the recipe adapts wonderfully to any kind of nuts/marshmallows/thingsyoumixintobrownies you want to throw in when you are in the mood for something more flamboyant than plain chocolate brownies. It’s grown up dark chocolate brownies but sweet enough that anyone will enjoy it. I have made these plain, with coconut, swirled with crunchy peanut butter, topped with white chocolate + crushed peppermint candies, and with chocolate ganache. However this iteration with fat swirls of Nutella might just be one of my favorites in terms of how easy it is to make vs. how delicious it is to eat.

Nutella

Nectar of the Gods

The best part of this recipe is that you can do it all in one pan with no need for whisks or multiple bowls. This is particularly lovely if like me you have no dishwasher. Also known as one of the downsides of living in an authentic albeit renovated 1930s style apartment…on the plus side with ceilings like this I can probably have a 13 foot Christmas tree if I do please. Note that in the original recipe you combine all the ingredients in a bowl set over a double boiler. This seemed extraneous and unnecessary and I’ve always done it in a pan over the stove and it turns out wonderful so….yeah. INGREDIENTS: ALICE MEDRICH COCOA BROWNIES WITH NUTELLA SWIRLS Makes 16 large or 25 smaller brownies 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter 1 1/4 cup sugar 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process) 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 cold large eggs 1/2 cup or 2.5 ounces all-purpose flour 2/3 cup of Nutella (or more if you are wild at heart) 1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. 2. Combine butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a pan over low heat. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. 3. Turn off the heat and wait until the mixture is only warm, not hot. 4. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. 5. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring after each one. 6. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. 7. Spread evenly in the lined pan. 8. Plop somewhat evenly spaced spoonfuls of Nutella over the batter in the pan. 9. Take a knife and then swirl these into the batter. Swirl enough there is Nutella over the entire cake but make sure the little rivulets of Nutella are thick enough that you will be able to taste them. When in doubt, add more Nutella. 10. Bake until a toothpick in the center emerges only slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. 11. Let cool completely on a rack. Cut into 16 or 25 squares. Keep in an airtight container and keep them out of the fridge, these are better served room temperature or slightly warm.

SO MANY PICTURES OF BROWNIES.

Healthy & Delicious Chocolate Pudding Multi-Grain Oatmeal

Whenever I think of porridge I think of something bland and beige, the sort of thing that only people in prison and old time-y kids in Charles Dickens novels eat. This all changed after seeing this amazing post “To Talk Porridge” from Megan Gordon at A Sweet Spoonful. This porridge was not bland; it was topped with cranberries, coconut, and almonds; and it was not beige (well not entirely anyways), it was swirled with deep red and tinged with pink. And multi-grain oatmeal guys, is really just code for porridge. It just sounds nicer than the word ‘porridge’.

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Taking inspiration from that post I came up with a yummy and very chocolate-y multi-grain porridge that is essentially like eating chocolate pudding for breakfast…chocolate pudding that is dairy free, refined sugar free, egg free and has 358 calories, 4.5 grams of fiber, 5.7 grams of protein and is full of healthy coconut fats and omega-3. If you switch the grains too you could definitely make this gluten-free.

Chocolate Pudding Oatmeal

Chocolate Pudding Oatmeal

Although I’ve always liked the idea of oatmeal I never really liked hot oatmeal itself. It was sort of gluey and too one note. I think porridge, or maybe this porridge, solves that issue by using more than one grain for texture, so its more “toothsome” (stealing this word from A Sweet Spoonful’s post as I thought it was very evocative of what I was going for…). Naturally I started with rolled oats but for texture variation I added farro and spelt. Using a variety of grains also makes it healthier, adding in different nutrients, fiber and protein (depending on the grains you go for). I also added some chia seeds at the end which not only possess the uncanny power of transforming anything into “pudding” (look it up) but are also rich in omega-3. In order to reduce cooking time I used Trader Joe’s 10-Minute Farro and for the spelt I’m pretty sure I just used regular spelt even though the cooking time for spelt is supposed to be quite long…but it was still fine with 10 minutes.

Chocolate Pudding Oatmeal

For the liquid in the porridge I went with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, which is very low in calories but still adds creaminess. And after ensuring this was healthy to make it delicious I added cocoa powder, dark chocolate, coconut flakes and pistachios. To make it sweet you have a lot of options; brown sugar, honey or agave would be nice but in trying to stay healthy I used coconut sugar sweetened with stevia. My mom gave me this stuff because she abhors my Splenda habit (sorry Mum) and on its own or in a drink I think the Stevia taste is too pronounced but in something like this it blends in very well with no detectable aftertaste….must be all that chocolate 🙂

Chocolate Pudding Oatmeal

Chocolate Pudding Oatmeal

In order to avoid gluey oatmeal I followed the tips that Megan gave out on her post including to toast the oats first, only add the oats when the liquid is boiling and to avoid stirring the mixture while it cooks.

Oatmeal, Farro & Spelt

Oatmeal, Farro & Spelt

BASIC MULTI-GRAIN OATMEAL

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:
– 1/4 cup rolled oats (76 calories, 2 grams fiber, 2.75 grams protein)
– 1/8 cup Trader Joe’s 10-Minute Farro (80 calories, 1.5 grams fiber, 3.5 grams protein)
– 1/8 cup spelt (73.5 calories, 2.4 grams fiber, 3.1 grams protein)
– 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil (58.5 calories)
– 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (60 calories, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams protein)

1. Heat a pan on medium heat and add the coconut oil when hot. Toss the oatmeal, farro and spelt in and toast in the coconut oil until they start to smell toasty. This also helps reduce cooking time.
2. Meanwhile, heat a pan with 1.5 cups of almond milk and bring that to a boil.
3. Add the toasted grains to the boiling almond milk, lower heat to simmer, cover and cook for 8 minutes.

CHOCOLATE PUDDING MULTI-GRAIN OATMEAL

– 3 tablespoons cocoa powder (36 calories)
– 2 tablespoons coconut sugar with stevia (96 calories)
– 2 squares dark chocolate (100 calories)
– 2 tablespoons chia seeds (136 calories, 1.4 grams protein)
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Once you have your basic multi-grain oatmeal cooked for 8 minutes, uncover the mixture.
4. Add in the the cocoa powder, coconut sugar, dark chocolate, chia seeds and remaining 1/2 cup of almond milk. You can add more or less almond milk depending on how thick you want your porridge. Stir minimally to combine, taste for doneness/add more sweetener if necessary then let cook for another 1-2 minutes.
5. Remove from heat, add in the vanilla extract, stir, add toppings and serve.

Grains

Grains

Coconut Oil and Coconut Sugar with Stevia

Coconut Oil and Coconut Sugar with Stevia

Cocoa and Dark Chocolate

Cocoa and Dark Chocolate

Chocolate Pudding Multi-Grain Oatmeal Pre-Toppings

Chocolate Pudding Multi-Grain Oatmeal Pre-Toppings

Now for the toppings. This is honestly perfectly fine by itself but some toppings really go that extra mile with making it feel like a dessert. I went with coconut flakes and pistachios.

Chocolate Pudding Oatmeal Post-Toppings

Chocolate Pudding Oatmeal Post-Toppings

Toppings

Toppings

But you could also go with fresh berries, dried apricots and almonds, fresh bananas with a peanut butter swirl (or PB2 if you’re conserving calories, see this post.), or anything you think pairs well with chocolate. Perhaps more chocolate.

DSC_0245

Another route you can go if you are not craving a simpler or fresher final product is to omit the chocolate and then add cinnamon and fresh fruit. This option also saves you 58 calories per serving so that your final product will be closer to 300 calories per serving.

Vanilla, Cinnamon & Berry Multi-Grain Oatmeal

Vanilla, Cinnamon & Berry Multi-Grain Oatmeal

VANILLA, CINNAMON & BERRY MULTI-GRAIN OATMEAL

– 2 tablespoons coconut sugar with stevia (96 calories)
– 2 tablespoons chia seeds (136 calories, 1.4 grams protein)
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– fresh or frozen berries

1. Once you have your basic multi-grain oatmeal cooked for 8 minutes, uncover.
4. Add in the coconut sugar, chia seeds, cinnamon and remaining 1/2 cup of almond milk. You can add more or less almond milk depending on how thick you want your porridge. Stir minimally to combine, taste for doneness/add more sweetener if necessary then let cook for another 1-2 minutes.
5. Remove from heat, add in the vanilla extract, stir, add toppings and serve.
6. If you are using fresh berries, slice over top and if you are using frozen microwave/heat until defrosted and juicy then pour it over the top of your oatmeal. Normally I will always choose fresh berries but in this case the ones that were frozen will be soft and bleeding berry juice that mixes into the oatmeal. “Bleeding” is a poor word choice here but you know what I mean. I’m all for it.

Vanilla Cinnamon Multi-Grain Oatmeal Pre-Topping

Vanilla Cinnamon Multi-Grain Oatmeal Pre-Topping

Post-Topping

Post-Topping

Added almonds and pumpkin seeds too btw.

Added almonds and pumpkin seeds too btw.

This version is also completely vegan. The chocolate pudding version is most likely vegan as well but I think that depends on the veganness of your dark chocolate. Mine was just regular Trader Joe’s dark chocolate so I believe it probably did have milk solids albeit a very small amount of them.

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DSC

TIPS:
– Substitute other grains, I think wheat berries would be soooo good in this because of their chewy texture.
– Depending on how soft or how textured you want this vary the ratio of grains (more oatmeal will make it softer) or cook it for more or less time.
– You could even use different grains to make this gluten-free; amaranth, quinoa, millet, sorghum, rice and some kinds of oats are gluten-free. Just make sure you adjust the cooking times accordingly for the grains you use.
– So many toppings would be good with these. I really want to make the chocolate one again and add PB2 to it for peanut butter flavor then top with sliced bananas and a little swirl of real peanut butter. For the chocolate-free one I think some cinnamon baked almonds and pears with pecans would make it amazing. Or lots of coconut and a few chocolate chips if you only want a hint of chocolate.
– As I mentioned before the chocolate-free one is vegan and the chocolate pudding version is most likely 99.9% vegan depending on how vegan the dark chocolate you use is.

New York – Cronuts & The BEST Chocolate Mousse Ever

Super belated post but thought I’d upload some of the many food pics from a trip to NY a month ago. Every time we go to NY we eat. SO. MUCH. FOOD. Something like 4 meals a day plus squeezing in snacks everywhere (paninis at Eataly, the banana bread pudding at Magnolia, the Salty Pimp cone at Big Gay Al’s…). So I guess this time was no different. Part 1:

DOMINIQUE ANSEL CRONUTS:

Perhaps I am disqualified from properly judging this particular cronut flavor because I dislike things that are overly sweet (white chocolate, fudge, caramel….) but on the other hand I love dulce de leche so this should have been amazing.

Dulce de Leche Cronut

Dulce de Leche Cronut

Although I appreciated the flakes of sea salt to offset how sweet it was it was still SO SWEET. And very very buttery. A little too buttery for me. I had one bite and I think that was all I could eat. It’s not all bad news though, could definitely see this being delicious with the right flavor, maybe something more tart like raspberry? And it was perfectly executed, crisp shell on the outside, soft flaky layers inside and perfectly smooth dulce de leche cream between the layers. Lest ye abandon all hope.

Dulce de Leche Cronut

Dulce de Leche Cronut Innards

Dominique Ansel

189 Spring Street (between Sullivan and Thompson)
New York, NY 10012

http://dominiqueansel.com/

BUVETTE:

Buvette is a lovely little (and I mean little) bistro style restaurant in the West Village. We always go for their unbelievable Croque Monsieur/Madame and for the best chocolate mousse in the world.

Buvette

Buvette

The menu is fairly small and fairly traditionalist French with croque monsieurs, charcuterie, steak tartare, duck confit rillettes, coq au vin, tartinettes, etc. Portions are somewhat small too so be advised (perhaps that’s French too?). We prefer to come here for breakfast/brunch.

This time we all shared the Steamed Eggs with Prosciutto, which seems small but with the bread it becomes a more substantial meal.

Steamed Eggs with Prosciutto

Demolished Steamed Eggs with Prosciutto

Not substantial enough because we also individually ordered the Salade de Poulet which sounds boring but is actually quite nice. It comes with shredded roasted chicken, green beans, potatoes, butter lettuce and creamy mustard dressing. Probably one of the lightest things you can get at Buvette even with that rich dressing.

Salade de Poulet

Salade de Poulet

The Croques. You truly cannot go wrong with any of them. At most places vegetarian attempts of “real food” are often dismal but here the Croque Forrestier with creamy bechamel sauce and wild mushrooms is as good as the Croque Monsier with prosciutto and the Croque Madame with prosciutto AND an egg. All have gruyere and despite their apparent diminutive size these things are super rich and they pack quite the punch.

Croque Madame

Croque Forrestier with an added Egg

Croque Madame

Croque Madame

Lastly to end you must order the Chocolate Mousse. I  solemnly swear it is the best chocolate mousse I have ever tried. Incredibly rich and chocolate-y and with a texture so dense its almost chewy.

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse

We sneakily tried to find out what was in it by pretending to have a range of allergy afflictions and self-imposed dietary restrictions from lactose intolerance to keeping kosher in order to find out if there were dairy, eggs, nuts or gelatin in it. Sneaky. And for the record there is no dairy in the mousse itself (not including the whipped cream on top of course) and no gelatin. Hmm.

More to come and please forgive the amount of chipped nail polish in these pictures. Probably should have gone with gel nails.

Buvette

42 Grove St
(between Bedford St & Bleecker St)
New York, NY 10014

http://ilovebuvette.com

Bouchon Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

So naturally after a healthy post I follow up with something on the other end of the scale. My mom got me Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery cookbook and having heard really great things about it I was excited to try something. I started off with the TKO cookies and the Nutter Butter’s but thought a more unique thing to share would be the Flan Tart! I slightly adapted it by omitting the apricots and adding a chocolate ganache to the top of it.

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Look at that thing. I personally love flan, crème brûlée and all sorts of custard based desserts. This filling isn’t exactly flan per se as it does not include condensed milk which is typical of flan but more of a simple custard based simply on whole milk, eggs, vanilla and sugar. It has a pâte brisée crust and you can use Bouchon Bakery’s recipe or one that you are more familiar with, as long as it fits a 9 inch round pan.

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

The recipe’s in Bouchon Bakery are very exact and contain a lot of useful information. If you follow directions closely you will end up with a great product. One of the tips I really liked is to let muffin batter sit for a day as this soaks the flour and produces a more moist final product. Having made countless batches of dry-ish muffins despite vast amounts of oil or buttermilk this might be the clue I’ve been missing all these years! I plan on trying one of the muffin recipes and reporting back here to see how that goes 🙂

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

One important thing to note is that they call for Bird’s Custard Powder for the recipe. Coincidentally had this as I had been to Cost Plus World Market and they had this in their section of international foods a while ago (custard powder is quite popular in the UK). If you don’t have it I looked at the ingredients and it is entirely cornstarch with flavoring and food coloring. So you can most likely sub cornstarch for it and maybe add some extra vanilla. Your final custard might be less yellow but taste should not be too highly affected.

INSTRUCTIONS:

FOR THE PATE BRISEE RECIPE SEE INSIDE THE BOOK HERE

FOR THE FLAN TART RECIPE SEE INSIDE THE BOOK HERE

FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE:

INGREDIENTS:

– 8 oz dark chocolate, chopped
– 1/2 cup whole milk or cream

1. Melt the chocolate and milk together over a double boiler or by microwaving for 30 second increments with whisking in between.
2. Spread over the cooled flan tart.

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

Flan Tart with Chocolate Ganache

TIPS:
– As before, if you do not have Bird’s Custard Powder you can order it online, find it at Cost Plus World Market or substitute for cornstarch and extra vanilla flavoring.
– Incorporating coconut in this, whether by subbing in coconut milk or topping with toasted coconut would be quite good.
– Another option is omitting the chocolate ganache and topping with fresh berries.

Slice

Slice

Healthy PB + Chocolate + Banana Smoothie

Since we had a good response to our Healthy Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie post we decided to tweak that recipe to make a healthy peanut butter banana chocolate smoothie!

Healthy PB Banana & Chocolate Smoothie

Healthy PB Banana & Chocolate Smoothie

Healthy PB Banana & Chocolate Smoothie

Healthy PB Banana & Chocolate Smoothie

This recipe is the same base as the Healthy Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie but with a few tweaks. This definitely has more of a dessert feel with the chocolate and banana always adds a wonderful creaminess to smoothies. This is definitely a thicker smoothie but even so it only has 174 calories, only a smidgen more than the peanut butter & jelly smoothie!

Healthy PB Banana & Chocolate Smoothie

Banana Hanging Out in the Smoothie

And again the secret to making a healthy peanut butter smoothie is PB2. It’s a powdered peanut butter product that tastes like peanut butter but has almost none of the fat. I bought this once to try and though I do not eat it plain on toast it has become a staple in my pantry and I like adding it to smoothies, stir frys and to my cereal every now and then. To read more about PB2 or buy it click here.

Healthy PB Banana & Chocolate Smoothie

Healthy PB Banana & Chocolate Smoothie

INGREDIENTS:

Makes one smoothie.

1/2 cup of greek yogurt
1/2 cup of almond milk
1/2 banana (this can be frozen for extra creaminess!)
3 tbsp of PB2
1 square of dark chocolate
Sweetener (We used Splenda, but you could use stevia or if you don’t mind the extra calories real sugar, agave, honey etc.)

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Add the all the ingredients except for the dark chocolate to the blender and blend until smooth.
2. Once those are blended add the dark chocolate and blend until you have little chunks of dark chocolate throughout. I like these chunks big enough that you can chew on them, if you blend too long it’ll just be chocolate dust.
3. Pour into a cup and drink up. It’s ready!

Healthy PB Banana & Chocolate Smoothie

Healthy PB Banana & Chocolate Smoothie

Although using half a banana seems impractical remember this smoothie recipe serves one and you can use the other banana half for a smoothie the next day or to add to your cereal. I personally like to only add 1/2 a banana to my morning cereal because 1) you’re saving 50 calories and b) your bananas last longer! I find that that half a banana super thinly sliced is the perfect amount to add to my Kashi Berry Crumble or Fiber One Chocolate cereal. I’m also adding a lot of other things (coconut flakes, chia seeds, raw almonds, etc.) so I don’t need to much of any one topping.

Before

Before

After

After

Anyways. Hope you enjoy the smoothie, I love these guys after work or pre/post-gym. They take 10 seconds to whip up and are quite satisfying without actually being bad for you.

Healthy PB Banana & Chocolate Smoothie

Healthy PB Banana & Chocolate Smoothie

TIPS:
– If you prefer milk chocolate or white chocolate go for it. They have a bit more calories than dark but since its only one square I wouldn’t worry about it too much. I think the white chocolate would be especially delicious in this.
– Other great additions would be coconut, almonds, or hazelnuts. These would add more texture to the smoothie so its less smooth but if you don’t mind that all would be quite tasty.
– This could also be made with regular milk, soy milk, etc. I just love the taste of almond milk and its extremely low calorie
– You can easily make this vegan by substituting soy or any other non-milk based yogurt for the greek yogurt!

Honey-Rhubarb & Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

So. This is the first time I have ever cooked with rhubarb. But fear not,  it turned out quite nicely! I love rhubarb in desserts, it adds a great tang to pies and ice cream and pairs beautifully with strawberries or white chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Shavings

Dark Chocolate Shavings and a Swirl of Honey on the Parfait

It might seem intimidating at first because its a stalk-y vegetable that looks a lot like celery that is dyed bright red and you normally do not consume it raw or without cooking it with sugar. But cooking with it does not take very long at all and with the results you get a jammy sweet-tart confection that can be mixed into muffins, swirled into ice cream, mixed into a cocktail or dolloped on yogurt. I chose that last option.

Honey-Rhubarb & Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

Honey-Rhubarb & Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

Spoonful of the Parfait

Spoonful of the Parfait

I based my rhubarb on this recipe. I made some modifications and decided to add thyme to it. Thyme is such a nice woodsy herb that adds complexity to the honey-rhubarb compote. If you want it to be even more woodsy you could add rosemary even!

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

Rhubarb - Doesn't it look just like celery?

Rhubarb – Doesn’t it look just like celery?

INGREDIENTS:

Honey-Rhubarb Compote with Thyme

3 cups fresh rhubarb
1/4 cup orange juice
3 tbsp honey
1 sprig of fresh thyme

1. In a saucepan, bring the orange juice to a boil.
2. Add rhubarb, honey, and thyme and stir until everything is well mixed.
3. Cook mixture slowly for about 8 minutes. Taste for sweetness and add more honey if desired.
4. Let the compote cool completely. It can be stored in a jar for up to a week.

Honey-Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

Honey-Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

Honey-Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

honey-rhubarb compote
plain or vanilla greek yogurt
dark chocolate bar
honey

1. Layer the honey-rhubarb compote with greek yogurt
2. After each layer do a drizzle of honey and shave some dark chocolate on top of it.
3. Repeat.

Honey-Rhubarb Compote and Greek Yogurt Parfait

Honey-Rhubarb Compote and Greek Yogurt Parfait

The end result is a delicious mix of creamy yogurt, tangy-sweet honey rhubarb, and a touch of bitter from the dark chocolate. Its low-carb and satisfying (especially if you do big shavings of dark chocolate!). It made for a lovely breakfast today and tomorrow I’m thinking of adding the compote to some oatmeal with almond milk, coconut shavings and fresh sliced strawberries…

Honey-Rhubarb Compote and Greek Yogurt Parfait

Honey-Rhubarb Compote and Greek Yogurt Parfait

TIPS:
– You can substitute the honey in the compote recipe for a sweetener like sugar or the cup-for-cup Splenda! If you use a no calorie sweetener this would be a pretty healthy (and virtually zero carb) recipe.
– Adding in sliced strawberries or fresh blackberries to this parfait would also be lovely.
– If you don’t like dark chocolate, white chocolate pairs really well with rhubarb.
– Naturally you can use any kind of yogurt you like, and adding granola to this would really take it over the top!

Smudgy Honey-Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt Parfait Cup

Smudgy Honey-Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt Parfait Cup

Healthy Snacks

Even though I usually eat healthy meals when I eat at home (eating out is a whole other story) my downfall can be snacks. Naturally the best things to snack on are fruits and veggies. But every now and then you want something salty and crunchy and that might vaguely remind you of potato chips and chocolate and other delicious but perhaps unhealthy things. I try to limit how many snacks I buy because if I have 5 types of snacks in my house I will inevitably rotate between all 5 snacks during the course of the day. If I only have 1 or 2 snacks then it is more likely I will eat less of them since it gets boring to eat the same snack all day erryday.

So everyone is familiar with healthy snacks like nuts, low-fat low-sugar yogurt, etc. but this post is about some new healthy snacks I recently discovered that I had never tried before (and obviously really liked!):

Baked Snap Peas

Snap Pea Crisps

Snap Pea Crisps

Snap Pea Crisps

Snap Pea Crisps

These are crispy baked snap peas. They are salty and crunchy and so addictive. They are also very low in calories. Trader Joe’s makes their own version too and that one is great because they use cornmeal for extra crunchiness. This can seriously substitute potato chips for me, you could even dip it in hummus or light ranch dip!

Snap Pea Crisps Nutritional Information

Snap Pea Crisps Nutritional Information

Dried Peaches

Dried White Peaches

Dried White Peaches

Dried White Peaches

Dried White Peaches

So dried fruit in general is sweet and chewy and can almost (ALMOST) taste like candy. Everyone is familiar with the usual raisins, apricots, cranberries, etc. but Trader Joe’s has a great selection of dried everything. Strawberries, mangoes, pineapple…you name it. One of my recent favorites are the dried white peaches. These are sooo good but not overly sweet. They’re not super low calorie so you can’t just eat the entire bag but definitely a nice little sweet bite.

Dried White Peaches Nutritional Information

Dried White Peaches Nutritional Information

Kettle Corn

Cracker Jack Kettle Corn

Cracker Jack Kettle Corn

Cracker Jack Kettle Corn

Cracker Jack Kettle Corn

Ok. So kettle corn might not seem that healthy but this Cracker Jack version is not only not bad calorie-wise its quite tasty! I love kettle corn and I was wary of this premade version but its delicious and feels like a treat. Popcorn in general is a good snack (as long as its not popped in oil or drenched in butter) because its mostly air. Now I wouldn’t eat this whole bag at once but I liked having handfuls every now and then and I would just roll up the bag and the kettle corn would stay crispy and did not get stale at all over the course of 5 days.

Cracker Jack Kettle Corn Nutritional Information

Cracker Jack Kettle Corn Nutritional Information

Fiber One Chocolate

Fiber One Chocolate

Fiber One Chocolate

Fiber One Chocolate

Fiber One Chocolate

When I saw the commercial for this I really wanted to try it but I was also preparing for the worst since an 80 calorie high-fiber delicious chocolate cereal sounded improbable. However I LOVED this stuff. Its so good with cold milk and it even turns the milk chocolate-y after, like Cocoa Puffs! How nostalgic of sugar-y chocolate-y childhood cereals. Mostly I tend to eat this cereal with milk but this could also be eaten dry if you’re into that kind of thing!

Fiber One Chocolate Nutritional Information

Fiber One Chocolate Nutritional Information

Kashi Go Lean Toasted Berry Crumble

Kashi Go Lean Crisp

Kashi Go Lean Crisp Toasted Berry Crumble

Kashi Go Lean Crisp Toasted Berry Crumble

Kashi Go Lean Crisp Toasted Berry Crumble

I’ve tried a lot of the Kashi cereals because they do high protein cereals that aren’t super sugary. This is my favorite by far. The almond flax seed is a little too crunchy for me and some of them seem too dry but this one tastes like yummy granola. The kind thats served on parfaits and looks deceptively healthy but can actually be kind of high in fat and sugar. I like eating this cereal in parfaits too, layered with Greek yogurt, honey, bananas, strawberries, and almonds.

Kashi Go Lean Crisp Toasted Berry Crumble Nutritional Information

Kashi Go Lean Crisp Toasted Berry Crumble Nutritional Information

So those are the snacks I’ve been eating lately. Hope some of these are new to you and that you discover something new you like! I have some other healthy snacks I’ve been wanting to try like a super low calorie Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream I saw at Whole Foods so we’ll do another post on healthy snacks later on too!

TIPS:
– A great substitution you can do is when eating cereal to switch almond milk in instead of regular milk. I am by no means someone who dislikes or avoids dairy – I love greek yogurt, cheese and ice cream – but a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk has 30 calories while a cup of skim milk has 90 calories. I personally even prefer the taste of almond milk for cereal too.
– Silk also makes lower calorie coconut milk and a coconut milk + almond milk BLEND. Both are great if you love coconut.

PB & BCH Toast

If you are currently at a loss for breakfast we have the simplest recipe for you. It involves no cooking (is toasting cooking?) and it will be ready in about 5 minutes, depending on how fast your slicing skills are.

As much as we would love to have a full breakfast everyday, one rarely finds the time to make rashers of bacon, crispy potatoes and scrambled eggs on weekday mornings. And breakfast is, as most of us are tired of hearing, the most important meal of the day. Although we too are guilty of occasionally skipping breakfast, many studies have shown that people who eat breakfast eat less throughout the whole day. Almost on par with skipping breakfast is having an unsatisfying breakfast. Although many times cereal will do just fine, if you are pressed for time and want something hot you need nothing more than 4 or 5 ingredients.

Peanut Butter Banana Coconut Honey Toast

Peanut Butter Banana Coconut Honey Toast

INGREDIENTS:
Loaf of country whole wheat bread (We like Trader Joe’s Demi Miche bread)
Peanut butter (we are partial to crunchy but we know this is a controversial topic)
1 banana
Honey
Shredded or flaked coconut (or any other topping of your choice!)
Coconut oil

Directions:
1. Slice some of the bread to your desired thickness.
2. Toast. Spread coconut oil on both sides then pan fry until golden on each side.
3. Spread the peanut butter generously on one side.
4. Slice the banana and layer on top of the peanut butter.
5. Drizzle with honey.
6. Top with coconut flakes.

Should you follow these ridiculously simple (almost to the point of being unnecessary) directions: The toast will be hot, crunchy on the outside, and will smell coconut-y and butter-y at the same time. The peanut butter will begin to melt where it touches the bread and ooze over. The bananas and honey will add sweetness and lastly you’ll have some more texture and flavor from the coconut. So good! This would also be a perfect afternoon snack.

TIPS:
– If you are allergic to coconut you can use butter instead of coconut oil and omit the coconut flakes.
– This would be also delicious with just plain white bread or super dark rye bread.
– This is what the Trader Joe’s Demi Miche bread looks like (here).
– Instead of the coconut flakes you could also top this with dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, dates…), chocolate chips, cinnamon, nuts, or berries!

Polite Provisions

We’ve been hearing a lot about Polite Provisions, which is from the same owner’s as Noble Experiment and is supposed to have quite the ambitious cocktail program. Polite Provisions is in University Heights, on the corner of 30th and Adams. Its definitely a little more bare bones than the area around Adams/Park Ave, which has lot of restaurants and shops, but you can tell there’s trendy new places popping up around it (like its brother meatball shop restaurant Soda & Swine which is right next door and Jayne’s Gastropub which is around the corner).

The decor of the place is awesome. Its very Art Deco 1920s style, with old school street lamps and an engraved ceiling. The bar is very long and there are extra tables and seating. Although it was Saturday around 8:30 pm and all the seating was taken the bar was not super packed and there was standing room next to the bar and enough bartenders that you could easily order and they would check up on you. No need to insert yourself in between two strangers and hope to catch a glance of one of the bartenders whilst holding your credit card out in front of you to order a drink.

Polite Provisions Interior

Although Polite Provisions only serves drinks you can order food from Soda & Swine next door and they wil bring over.

Their drink menu is extensive and covers a lot of different tastes. They have dessert cocktails (with chocolate/cream/maple syrup!), beer cocktails, cocktails on draft, lighter champagne based cocktails and more spirit forward fare such as negronis. They also have punch bowls (a good deal if you came with a larger group), wine, and because this is San Diego naturally they have a good selection of craft beer. Maybe more unexpectedly they also have a good selection of virgin soda cocktails so your designated driver doesn’t have to sadly sip on a Diet Coke while everyone else samples the good stuff. First we ordered the Misty Mountain Buck (rye whiskey, fresh lime juice, organic pineapple, housemade, ginger beer & bitters) and the Honey Stone Julep (bourbon, organic mint, apricot liqueur & honey). Both were excellent, especially for $8 dollars. The Misty Mountain Buck was very ginger-y and very pineapple-y but well balanced and refreshing. The Honey Stone Julep was more spirit-forward but also sweet and the apricot and honey flavors complemented the mint really well.

Honey Stone Julep (left) and Misty Mountain Buck (right)

Honey Stone Julep (left) and Misty Mountain Buck (right)

You could taste that they use very fresh, top-notch ingredients. A lot of their ingredients are house made too which shows how much they care about the final product. Our next drinks were the Chocolate Negroni (gin, Campari, Punt e Mes vermouth, creme de cacao and chocolate bitters) and the Coal Miner’s Daughter (a bourbon based drink we don’t recall the other ingredients of and that is not on their menu online…). The Negroni was interesting and definitely had chocolate-y notes which balanced out the Campari and the orange peel that is traditionally served with negronis. Don’t know if we would order it again though. The Coal Miner’s Daughter was good as well, this was a very spirit-forward drink. We liked our first cocktails better but these were definitely not too shabby either.

CHECK:
Misty Mountain Buck $8
Honey Stone Julep $8
Chocolate Negroni $9
Coal Miner’s Daughter $8
TOTAL: $35.64 (w/ tax)

Overall the price, the atmosphere, and the drinks were all excellent. We will definitely be returning to Polite Provisions.

Polite Provisions
4696 30th St
San Diego, CA 92116
politeprovisions.com/