Tag Archives: cranberries

Cranberry Almond Coconut Balls

I’m pretty beat.

I’m ready for Christmas so that I can just relax, and work will stop being a whirlwind of people scrambling to get massive projects done at the last minute. I work in n industry where people being “last minute lucys” turns into our problem if we can’t make a 2-day job happen in 1-hour.

Of course, the 2-day job in 1 hour could potentially happen if everybody wasn’t working on the same deadline.

Such is life. There is a calm after the storm just like there is one before it.

And at least I had time to make these this weekend.

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After making my Mounds Balls, I quickly realized 20 balls for 5 hungry people (some going to families) was not going to cut it – especially at the rate that those balls are demanded. I made some again the next morning.

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But, you may know me enough by now that I couldn’t just do the same ol’ Mounds Balls as I made the night before. When my eye caught the dried cranberries I’d picked up, I decided to work them in there, too.

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Part of me also really wanted to work in some almond butter, but I resisted on the basis that even I am not completely sold on eating almond butter straight up, and so didn’t think I could convince anyone else of it, either.

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Then I wanted to make another batch with peanut butter – but aren’t there already peanut butter balls made with sugar and graham crackers and rolled in chocolate? Buckeyes or something? So I passed.

I like to remain relatively original. Hence why I don’t bake things like chocolate chip cookies. It breeds for comparison, and I’m really not that good of a baker. I dare you to find someone who doesn’t have a “favorite” chocolate chip cookie. Now think of how many people you know that have a favorite lemon poppyseed cookie. I rest my case. I will never be able to compete against people’s favorite chocolate chip cookies, no matter how good mine are.

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I used (and recommend) marcona almonds for this recipe – but I’m sure any almonds would be fine. I just enjoy the salty, smooth marcona almonds to contrast the sweetness of the coconut, and cranberry.

And FWIW, my disclaimers about this recipe are the same as they were for the Mounds Balls. I am in no way, shape or form declaring these to be healthified. They are, however, an enjoyable treat that gets you out of ay kind of trouble. Though maybe not quiiiiite as easily as the Mounds Balls do Winking smile 

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Cranberry-Almond Coconut Balls

for 21 balls:

  • scant 3/4 c. confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 c. date syrup
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil, softened but not liquid
  • 1 c. finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 c. dried cranberries (I think mine were fruit juice-sweetened, though only because I have a terrible time finding unsweetened!)
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped marcona almonds
  • 1/2 bag dark chocolate chips
  • 1” square parafin wax, finely chopped
  • 1 square baker’s chocolate, finely chopped

Cream together the date syrup, sugar and coconut oil. When smooth, add in the coconut, cranberries and almonds. Mix to combine, then chill for approx. 30 minutes.

When chilled, line a small baking sheet with waxed paper. Roll the coconut mixture into about tablespoon-sized balls, and place on the paper. Try and make sure they’re not touching. Freeze for at least an hour, or overnight.

When balls are frozen, set up a double boiler on the stove with the chocolate chips, wax and baker’s chocolate. Heat until smooth and thoroughly melted. When ready, remove from heat and drop the balls in a few at a time, using the spoon and your fingers to thoroughly coat. Place back on the waxed paper baking sheets when done, and chill/freeze when set.

I toasted some coconut and marcona almonds to sprinkle on top, too – which is entirely optional but an added touch. You’ll need to sprinkle it on a couple of seconds after you place the balls on the sheets, though, as the wax casues it to set pretty quick.

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I preferred these over the Mounds Balls, but most likely because I like “different” things.

What about you – do you like to break the mold, or do you tend to go with the flow?

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Filed under baking, christmas, coconut, holiday, recipe

Ingenius

Ding, Ding Ding! We have a winner…

Foodzie it was! Through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker’s Program, I was selected to be part of the foodzie.com program. You can only imagine my excitement. I mean – I have a hard time passing up an interesting new find in the aisles of my supermarket…so being sent samples before buying is an ingenious idea, if you ask me.

How perfect does that plan sound?! Add to it the element of surprise, and now you know why I was dancing when I saw the package. I had absolutely no clue what was hidden inside, but I had a pretty good idea that it’s be something amazing.

And “something” turned out to be the understatement of the year…look at all the goodies! And the adorable presentation, too.

Not only did they fill the box with goodies, but I was even introduced to some maple syrup from my home state. And balsamic honey?! I’ve never heard of such a thing, but I have a hunch once I try it, I’ll buy it by the gallon!

I tore into the pistachios first…

Oh so very good. Just enough garlic and onion to give a pleasant flavor – not so much to leave you with offensive breath, though! Ironically, I remember always having those dyed red pistachios as a kid. They would stain my hands and couch something silly, though, so eventually my mom started saying “no!”…and I still hardly ever buy pistachios. They are quite nutrient dense, however – very good for you – so it was wonderful to be reunited with them.

They’ve got a bunch of flavors, though – I’m eyeballing the sea salt and pepper, especially.

And then for my snack at work this morning, I had this pear. I did find being sent a pear a little bizarre at first – but hey, why not?! I do love me some pears. I microwaved it with cinnamon and raisins for a homey, warming snack. It was so juicy and succulent, it about melted in my mouth like butter, I kid you not. When it was raining cats and dogs outside, this hit the spot.

And by raining cats and dogs, I mean raining cats and dogs. It was miserable! We got ten inches of snow on the mountain, too – though that was at 11 this morning. There’s probably far more by now!

And with that – I leave you with this. By far the best gingerbread overnight oats I’ve had yet…I did double the ginger, after all. My tongue was a little tingly, but that is a-ok in my book! I even made a spiced “icing,” to go with it – kefir, ground ginger, ground clove, maple syrup, and chia seeds.

Thought of the day: I wish I was a cat so that I could wrap my tail around my feet when they got cold. Either that, or I wish I had a tail so I could do the same thing. I mean, really – when it’s 38* outside, the window should not be open! Please and thank you.

And as a side-note…I know, I haven’t been posting “daily eats” lately. I’m sort of enjoying the “just whatever” vibe I’ve got going on now, though. Short and sweet, if you will. I’m sure I’ll go back and forth between “blogging styles,” but for now I hope you don’t abandon me! I’ve got some things planned, and have been doing a lot of nutrition homework, too. Maybe I’ll do a post on protein?!

What’s something you enjoyed often as a kid, but haven’t had since?

How do you feel about your protein intake? Do you try to balance it, or think you fall short? Prefer high-protein? I’m just interested in your thoughts, and I learned some new things this week!

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Filed under breakfast, cooking, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, lunch, oatmeal

It’s Here, It’s Here!

Ginger.

Bread.

Waffles.

Uhhh, yuhm. Need I say more? Probably not, but you know me, so you probably know that, well, I will.

Before I forget to ask, though – is this text any easier to read? A couple of you commented that when I first changed it, the text was sort of tricky to read. I could see where you were coming from, and even though this text is very similar, I think it’s easier on the eyes. Anybody?

If I can come clean for just a moment, I should disclose how much I’ve been using molasses lately. It’s a little bit ridiculous. Jjust today, I’ve used it in the following ways:

  • in waffles
  • in baked beans
  • in SuperCharge Me Cookies

but you can’t forget about my gingerbread overnight oats obsession, or the pumpkin gingerbread birdseed bars that I adored so much.

Can you even begin to imagine how many variations of gingersnaps, gingerbread cookies, gingerbread pancakes, and gingerbread loaves I’ll be baking when it really is “’tis the season“?!

Apparently, not only do I bathe in maple syrup, but molasses, too. Go figure.

Anyways. Here is my first version of gingerbread waffles. You know there’ll be more. My next version is going to be more flour-based than oat based. Yes, I already have it planned out. I also have gingerbread Super Charge Me cookies planned out, too, in case that was your next question.

The icing and the fruit compote topping is imperative, by the way.

Gingerbread Waffles with Cranberries and Chia-Kefir Icing

one serving

Cranberries:

  • 1/2 c. frozen cranberries
  • 1 dried fig, chopped
  • ~4 T. almond milk
  • 1-2 t. maple syrup (to taste)

Combine everything in a small frying pan, and simmer over low heat while you prepare the waffles, stirring occasionally. You’ll want for most of the cranberries to pop open, but if you see they are dry, add in more milk as it is necessary.

Chia-Kefir Icing

  • 1/4 c. plain kefir
  • 2 t. chia seeds
  • 1 t. maple syrup
  • splash of vanilla extract

Whisk together and set aside to thicken while you prepare the waffles.

Waffles:

  • 1/8 c. quick oats
  • 1/8 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/8 c. oat bran
  • 3/4 c. puffed millet
  • 1 T. wheat germ
  • 1 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. nutmeg
  • scant 1/2 t. ground clove
  • 1 t. ground ginger
  • 1/4 t. baking powder

Combine all in a bowl. Add in the wet ingredients:

  • 1 flax egg (1 T. milled flaxseed mixed with 3 T. water, and allowed to thicken)
  • generous 2 T. greek yogurt
  • 1/4 c. almond milk
  • 1/2 -1 T. blackstrap molasses

And stir to combine.

Spray thoroughly (top and bottom!) with cooking spray a waffle iron. Spoon half of the batter and close, cooking about 3 minutes on medium, or until your waffle iron tells you it’s ready 😉

Top with the cranberries and icing, and preferably some pecans or walnuts, too!

And if you detest cranberries, don’t cry. Use an apple! I can’t decide which I like better.

If you detest ginger and/or molasses…I don’t really know what to tell you, I guess.

Know what else happened today?

Well, a wonderful ride on Teddie, yes, but something as equally exciting. Something I had to break into the second I came home.

That in turn, made me break out in dance when I saw it.

What could it be?! Well, I’ll tell you tomorrow…but here’s a hint 😉

What’s your favorite “Holiday Cookie”? My mom has this tradition every year where she goes on a baking extravaganza – sugar cookies, spritz cookies, biscottis, dark chocolate almond joy balls, dark chocolate and orange truffles, quick breads, you name it – and I remember loving it when we were a kid. The almond joy balls are a new addition, and easily mine, the families, and work’s favorite! As a kid, though, I loved the reindeer-shaped cookie cutters for the sugar cookies, and “painting” them with pretty colored sugar.

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Filed under breakfast, cooking, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, oatmeal, recipe

I Have a Block of Tempeh. Now What?

First thing’s first: Thank you all SO so so SO much for the birthday wishes. They are all much appreciated. It was a great day! We have had absolutely gorgeous weather here lately, and yesterday was no exception. With weather that beautiful, it would have taken something tragic to make it into a bad day. Luckily, that wasn’t the case 🙂

The exam was, however, worse than I thought it was going to be :\ I’m usually a good essay writer, and am confident in my abilities as long as I am well educated on the subject – and, I felt I was. It turned out, however, that this exam would actually consist of two essays – and each were incredibly involved. As in – everything we’ve covered thus far, condensed into 90 minutes – though, more like 45 minutes for each essay. Basically, I could have gone home and easily written five pages. I had to pump it out in, oh, three-fourish mediocre pages?

Ah well. The stew and strawberry shortcake (!!) that was waiting for me at home made it all okay 🙂 Granted, it was mock strawberry shortcake – we used the cupcakes! – and I decided to make mine with almond milk & nuke it to get it soggy – after the candle blowing-out, of course.

Buttt, moving onto this morning? More banana-craziness. I guess Henry stopped eating so many bananas or something, I know I haven’t cut back…but all of a sudden it seemed like there were four super-duper ripe bananas to be used!

Gross to the average person - perfection to the food blogger.

That’s a plant – the one I used was way more ripe. I just snapped a daylight photo of tomorrow’s banana for an example of my case 🙂

Obviously, the strawberries are long-gone. Sooo, what did I chose to pair my nanner with this morning? Frozen morello cherries. I was so gosh durn excited when I finally found frozen cherries at the co-op the other day. I had been craving cherries like none other! And this morning was the first chance I’ve gotten to utilize them. Well actually, it’s not. But that’s besides the point.

The winning toppings for the morning was flax, chia-acai icing, dates, crystallized ginger, coconut, cacao bliss, and banana and cherries simmered in some almondmilk to perfection.

Loved the cherries. And the cacao bliss complimented it perfectly.

And in case anybody’s been wondering – why yes, it is still freezing cold in the mornings. And yes, I chose to go out in my pajama-clad self. And yes, I am grateful for a warm bowl of oats and coffee to warm me up from the ridiculousness of this.

It’s so crazy how fast the daylight has been changing. I’ve caught on to a noticeable difference morning and night over just the past three days. I love it! I think I even wake up earlier every day. I enjoy just being able to sit and relax after eating, taking my time making breakfast, cleaning up, and getting ready.

Are you someone who wakes up at the last minute and runs around trying to get ready, or do you leave yourself plenty of time to enjoy the morning peacefulness?

A Rumi’s & Jam english muffin and cup-o-French Vanilla green mountain later, I was groovin’ my way to work. My eats for the course of the day were pretty repetitive, but lunch didn’t disappoint.

I’m finally almost done with that never-ending bag of sesame rice crackers and wasa. Don’t get me wrong – I still quite like them. But I’ve had my eye on the everything pretzel crisps in my cupboard.

When I got home last night, I cooked up a gigantic head of broccoli for some burnt broccoli, with the intentions of having plenty leftover. Even though my mom ended up sneakily munching on quite a few crowns, I was successful in this mission. So I had a side for the rest of my ‘zone! I swear this calzone got better with age. I feel like the Spelt flavor of the crust was delightfully more noticeable. Loved it!

This was savored alonngside my boss, who savored a can of BM Beans. Which begs only one question, in my mind. What kind of mind do you have to have, to name your baked bean company B&M? The least you could do is settle on M&B.

And a Power Bar Pria French Vanilla Crisp bar. Not a huge fan of these bars, simply because I prefer the more organic granola bars – but they’re not bad. They’re like dessert, though! haha. Surprised they only have 9g of sugar. It’s good for when I’m actually craving something sweet, but want something with oomph. I do like that they are smaller than your average protein bar, but still have 5g of protein. I tend to stay away from your typical protein bar simply because they’re way too big for just a daytime bar when I’m not working out. So the smaller size of this is what caught my eye. That, and it was 49 cents. It could have tasted like cardboard and I couldn’t have rightfully complained. Luckily, it didn’t 🙂 After washing windows all afternoon – it was just what I was craving afterwards!

Washing windows, you ask? Okay – most people would be legit upset if they were asked by their employer if they wanted to wash windows. But you best believe I jumped at the chance! It was gorg out. I also took advantage of part of my break to take the long-route walk to the post office. Soaked up the sun!

I started out washing windows because we were pretty slow work-wise…but the afternoon absolutely exploded! There were customers left and right. I joked that it was because they could finally see in the windows 😛 So naturally, the afternoon flew by, and I was concocting dinner. This means that while driving home, there were many periods in which I zoned out and snapped back to after realizing I’d been listening to static for quite some time. Don’t worry – when I do this, I’m still really focused on driving. Promise.

AKA? My first tempeh experience. I have seen tempeh all over the blogosphere lately! I knew I had to give it a try, and picked some up at Hannafords. What better night to put it to use than tonight?! Granted – I had (and still don’t have) no idea what to do with it. Use it like I would tofu? Any way my heart desired, for it to pick up that flavor? I did a quick google of tempeh recipes simply to see what the common theme was, and finally just decided to saute it in a cranberry-orange & basil glaze that I’d been dreaming up for a little while now. I’m not sure if that’s weird or not. But I do know it tasted pretty dang good. Tempeh aficianados: Feel free to tell me if this is crazy.

The texture of the tempeh was strange to me at first – but by the time I was halfway through the meal, I had  no problem with it, and really started loving this. Definite make again! Next time, I’d use a bit more honey to reduce the tartness of the strawberries just a bit. Driver error. My bad.

Basically – I sauteed the tempeh in cranberries, orange-creme honey, juice of half an orange, some balsamic vin, and fresh basil. I also threw in some dried sage, smoked sea salt, cracked black pepper, and a dash of chili powder. I really liked the basil.

So – this leads me to my next question – what’s your favorite way to prepare tempeh? Since I have an inability to follow recipes I can’t guarantee I’ll try it – but I can guarantee it will trigger another idea in my crazy brain 🙂

I simply adore these honey cremes. They are so good – for everything! I love the Blackberry in my sugar cookie tea, and I bet this orange will be amazing in my moroccan orange spice tea. Tonight was my first time opening it, though – so I haven’t quite gotten to try it yet!

I’m almost out of Puffins, so I’m gradually growing re-accustomed to Kashi H2H. I figure it’s a good idea due to the fact that I have four boxes of Kashi in the cupboard after I found that stash at Big Lots. Ironically enough, my Kashi obsession ended before I even opened a single box. However – this bowl was to die. It involved a cupcake. it involved dried currants. And Nature Valley Nut Cluster crumbs. and Blueberry Cherry jam. Oh – and almondmilk & a microwave. The end.

Now, however, I’m back to my ANTM 90 minute premier. Not sure I’m digging this season yet. We’ll see.

Peace, lovelies. And don’t forget: tempeh! Or – what’s something you’ve seen a ton of lately that are soon to try? And when you do experiment with new food – do you follow a recipe, or wing it?

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Filed under all natural, almond milk, breakast, breakfast, broccoli, cooking, dinner, food, food blog, foodblog, health, health blog, health food, healthy eating, healthy living, lunch, oatmeal, organic, recipe