Chocolate Chia Almond Granola – SRC August

granola

Can you believe this is my second chocolate recipe in a row?!  This treat comes to you today as this month’s Secret Recipe Club pick.  The Secret Recipe Club is the awesome blogging group I’m in, let me tell you all about it!  Each month, a group of bloggers is assigned another blogger to try out one of their recipes.  We can pick whatever we want too!  On the same day, we all post about our recipes and get to see and try a ton of new things.

Secret Recipe Club

This month, I was paired with My Hobbie Lobbie, who is a wonderful blogger who bakes, cooks yummy food, and even does crafts.  I don’t know how she has time to do everything!  After going through a ton of her recipes, I found myself CRAVING her Nutty Chocolate Granola.  I just had to have it.  I changed it around to match what I already had in our pantry, and it was delish.  I can’t wait to share with my friends from my new job! (YES, I got a new job!!!  AHHHHH!  I am so super excited, had to throw that in there)

Chocolate Chia Almond Granola

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Cocoa Powder

2 1/2 cups Old-Fashioned Oats

1 cup Raw Slivered Almonds

1/2 cup Raw Sunflower Seeds

1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds

1/3 cup Unsweetened Apple Sauce

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Cardamom

1 Tablespoon Honey

1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

2 teaspoons Vegetable Oil

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, until completely combined.

2. Spread the mix onto a foil lined, cooking-spray coated baking sheet.

3. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, stirring/flipping the granola every 15.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Store in an airtight container.

Recipe Adapted from:  Nutty Chocolate Granola

Ready to stir!

Ready to stir!

Granola is stirred and ready to bake

Granola is stirred and ready to bake

Halfway done

Halfway done

The finished product... yum!

The finished product… yum!

This granola was a fabulous snack for after dinner, but it would be amazing as a topping to cereal, yogurt, ice cream, or berries and whipped cream!  I could not believe how easy it was to make my own granola, I am excited to do it again and try new varieties too.

Click below to see all of the other recipes that were made this month in the SRC!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

“light” Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

zucchinibread

I am super excited to share this recipe with you- NOT just because it’s amazing and delicious and awesome.  But mostly because this is the first recipe that I was able to use my brand spankin’ new KITCHENAID STAND MIXER!!!  Can you believe I got it already?!  What an unbelievable gift from our wonderful family friend Cheryl.  I finally picked a first recipe for it, and it was awesome.  YAY!

Now, it’s time to share this super sweet but “light” zucchini bread recipe!  If you cut the bread into 16 slices, each slice should only cost you about 160 calories.  It’s delish!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Sugar 
  • 3 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 cup Unsweetened, All-Natural Apple Sauce
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt 
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Zucchini (about 1 medium) 
  • 1/2 cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Place the sugar, eggs, and vegetable oil in a large bowl.  Beat with a mixer on low until well blended.  Add applesauce and continue to stir on low until it is well combined.
  2. Lightly spoon the flour into measuring cups, leveling with a knife.  In a separate bowl, combine the measured flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and stir well with a whisk.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, beating just until moist.  With a rubber scraper or wooden spoon, stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips.  
  3. Put the batter into a 9×5 inch loaf pan prepared with cooking spray.  Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until it passes the toothpick test.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then remove from pan to cool completely before slicing.  

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Cooking Light, 2004

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You might also like some of these other quick breads I’ve made!  Check them out…

Caramelized Carrot Cake Bread

Caramelized Carrot Cake Bread

Jalapeño Cheddar Beer Bread

Jalapeño Cheddar Beer Bread

5-Minute Banana Bread

5-Minute Banana Bread

 

Crockpot Coconut Curry – SRC July

Crockpot Coconut Curry w/ Eggplant & Zucchini – for the SRC July

curry.jpg

I know that typically people whip out their good ol’ slow cookers in the dead of winter, but I am super happy I decided to try this out despite the fact that it’s (OMG… already?!?) July!  There’s absolutely something to be said about a recipe that takes zero effort to prepare and no time standing over a hot grill, oven, or stovetop.  And I just love having a “Meatless Monday” to start my week of right.

What I love so much about cooking -and blogging- is that I can find so many different recipes from different places.  This recipe happened because of a really awesome blogging club that I participate in, called The Secret Recipe Club.  Forget what my Secret Recipe Club is?  Every month, we are assigned a new blogger.  We get to pick ANY recipe that blogger has written about and cook it up ourselves.  We can make adjustments according to our tastes too.  All of the bloggers post their results on the same day and we all get to see who had who and more importantly, what delicious dishes were made!

Secret Recipe Club

This month, I was paired with the adorable vegetarian blogger, Amanda and her blog Dancing Veggies.  Despite being the opposite of a vegetarian, I totally fell in foodie-love with Amanda’s blog.  Her veggie dishes are super flavorful and complex, it was so hard to pick just one.  Amanda loves spicy food, like us, so this Crockpot Coconut Curry won out.  It was amazing!

Crockpot Coconut Curry – Eggplant & Zucchini

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Sweet Onion, large
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and quartered
  • 2 Thai Chilies, minced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 6oz can Tomato Paste
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) Light Coconut Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Madras Curry Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Garam Marsala
  • 1lb Zucchini, cubed
  • 1lb Eggplant, cubed
  • 1/2 cup Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Fresh Parsley, chopped

Directions:

  1. Place the onion, bell pepper, and thai chilies into a food processor.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Add garlic, tomato paste, coconut milk and spices and process until smooth. 
  2. Place the veggies and sauce into the slow cooker.  Cook on LOW for 4 hours.  Serve over rice with delicious naan bread.  Top with a dollop of yogurt and some fresh parsley if desired.

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Slow Cooker Coconut Curry

Ready to whirl!

Ready to whirl!

Sauce is complete and ready to go.

Sauce is complete and ready to go.

Veggies chopped... so good!

Veggies chopped… so good!

The finished product!  yummy vegetarian curry over brown basmati rice

The finished product! yummy vegetarian curry over brown basmati rice

Dave and I were just dying over this curry!  The veggies become completely melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and the curry sauce is thick and packed with spice and flavor.  I served the curry over some brown basmati rice from Trader Joe’s and skipped the Naan this time.  This healthy dish should definitely make it into your weeknight repertoire!  ENJOY, and don’t forget to check out the other posts written below by the fabulous bloggers in the SRC!

Watermelon & Feta Salad, SRC June

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Hi friends!

I can’t wait to share today’s recipe with you- it’s delicious, healthy, and full of juicy summer flavor.  I just love a watermelon salad!

The recipe today comes from another talented blogger, “The Tasty Gardener“, my pairing for this month’s Secret Recipe Club.  The Secret Recipe Club is a really cool group I joined a little while back.  Every month, we are assigned a new blogger.  We get to pick ANY recipe that blogger has written about and cook it up ourselves.  We can make adjustments according to our tastes too.  All of the bloggers post their results on the same day and we all get to see who had who and more importantly, what delicious dishes were made!

Watermelon & Feta Salad

Ingredients:

2 cups Spring Mix Lettuce

1 cup Watermelon, chopped into small chunks

1/4 cup Reduced Fat Feta Cheese, chopped or crumbled

2 slices Sweet Onion, chopped

1/4 Red Bell Pepper, chopped

Mint Leaves

Cilantro Leaves

Olives, Sunflower Seeds, Balsamic Vinegar, Salt & Pepper

Directions:

Place lettuce in a bowl or tupperware container.  Add chopped ingredients and top with mint and cilantro.  Add with other salad toppings such as sunflower seeds and olives and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add 1-2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar and ENJOY!

Recipe adapted from:  The Tasty Gardener

The original recipe was more like a side salad, but I wanted to turn that recipe into a lunch appropriate salad with fresh lettuce and more veggies.  The flavors are just fantastic and the juicy watermelon is such a nice addition to my lunchtime salad.  It gives not only a sweetness but a crunchy texture bursting with flavor.  I loved it!

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Now take a moment to check out these other fab recipes from this month’s SRC Reveal:

Bobby’s Red Sangria

sangria

Our wedding is in 103 days.  OMG!  Can you believe it?!

This past weekend, I was showered with lots of love and amazing presents at my bridal shower.  It was so much fun!  I was able to be joined by all of my bridesmaids, lots of friends and family, and had a wonderful time.  (there was lots of good food too of course!)

Since the shower is really for the gals… Dave and I decided to have a really fun night out before the shower with all of our friends.  We decided to go to our absolute favorite restaurant in Philly- which happens to be a BYO.  I made an awesome Sangria recipe (my first!) and wanted to share it with you today.  It was delish!

Dave and I at our dinner :)

Dave and I at our dinner :)

Bobby’s Red Sangria

Ingredients:

2 bottles Spanish Red Table Wine

1 cup Apricot Brandy (or other)

1/2 cup Triple Sec

1/2 cup Raspberry Liquor (I used Framboise)

1 cup Orange Juice

1 cup Pomegranate Juice

3/4 cup Simple Syrup, or more to taste (equal parts sugar and water, heated until sugar dissolves, cooled)

Orange slices, Apple slices, Blackberries, One Cinnamon Stick

Directions:

1.  Mix the brandy, triple sec, and raspberry liquor in a large pitcher.  Cut half of the fruit and add to the boozy mixture.  Add juices and simple syrup.  Add the two bottles of wine and seal the container.  Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before serving.  

2.  Before serving, remove the old fruit and cinnamon stick and add the remaining chopped fruit.  
Recipe adapted from:  Bobby Flay’s Red Wine Sangria

This is the wine I used

This is the wine I used

Lots of booze, ready to rock and roll!

Lots of booze, ready to rock and roll!

I was confident that I couldn’t go wrong with a Bobby Flay recipe and started there.  With a few suggestions from friends, I added the raspberry and cinnamon which worked out great.  A great piece of advice is that the Sangria gets better with time… don’t try it right away and expect it to be good!  It has to sit with the fruit for a good amount of time before it is just right.  ENJOY!

P1020905

 

Green Sunrise Smoothie

 

 

Green Sunrise Smoothie

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So, I know I promised that the next time I tried to do a green drank, I’d be brave and use Kale instead of Spinach… but this recipe just sounded too good to ruin!  I’m sorry!  I lied.  But it’s okay because now I have another awesome spinach smoothie recipe for you that is SO YUMMY.  I promise.  I actually think this is my favorite one.  Thank you, Rachael Ray!

And I guess I should warn you…

If you’re all like WHOA what is up with the super healthy green smoothie?!  I should definitely tell you that as of MONDAY, Dave and I are starting our back to healthy eating habits/lifestyle.  We had a few months off track and now we’re back on!  I made this yummy smoothie for us for breakfast and it will definitely be in our rotation.

Green Sunrise Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (fresh or frozen) Mango Chunks 
  • 1 Cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 3/4 cup Apple Juice (I used organic, no sugar added)
  • 1/2 cup (packed) Baby Spinach
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh Mint Leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice (I used 1 packet True Lemon)

Directions:

1.  Put ingredients in a blender and blend for two minutes until everything is combined.

Slightly adapted from Rachael Ray

Trader Joe's frozen fruit is my favorite.  It's so cheap too!

Trader Joe’s frozen fruit is my favorite. It’s so cheap too!

This stuff is awesome.  Dave's Mom introduced me to it years ago.. it's great to have in the pantry!

This stuff is awesome. Dave’s Mom introduced me to it years ago.. it’s great to have in the pantry!

sunshinesmoothie.jpg

 

Red Pepper Walnut Relish : BA Cleanse 2014

relish.jpg

It’s time to take a hop in the time machine and go back a few months to the beginning of 2014.  Remember when Dave and I did the Bon Appetit cleanse?  We started the year off with two weeks of this awesome cleanse which gave us guidelines AND recipes to follow for every meal plus snacks for every day of the cleanse.  It was awesome.  I actually sorta miss it!

I wanted to share this recipe from the cleanse with you because I love how versatile it is.  You can really use it in so many ways, as we did during our cleanse.  We used this relish on chicken (seen below), on scrambled eggs, roasted tofu, and even by itself as a snack.  It definitely felt good using a topping that was homemade and not store bought.  Yay!

Red Pepper Walnut Relish

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup Walnuts
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers (1lb)
  • 1 clove Garlic, grated
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Mint, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) Aleppo Pepper* or ½ teaspoon Hot Smoked Paprika 
  • ½ teaspoon (or more) fresh Lemon Juice
  • ½ teaspoon Pomegranate Molasses** or Balsamic Vinegar
  • Kosher Salt & freshly ground Black Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until fragrant and slightly darker, 8–10 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop.  DO NOT BURN!!  (I had to re-do this step THREE times lol)
  2. Heat broiler. Broil bell peppers on a rimmed baking sheet, turning occasionally, until softened and skins are blackened in spots, 20–25 minutes. Transfer bell peppers to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap (or a brown paper bag), and let steam 15 minutes. Peel peppers, seed, and chop.
  3. Toss bell peppers, garlic, mint, oil, Aleppo pepper, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, and walnuts in a small bowl; season with salt, black pepper, and more Aleppo pepper and lemon juice, if desired.
  4. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.

*Aleppo Pepper is a great spice to have handy.  See if you can find it at Whole Foods or another spice market

**Pomegranate Molasses can be found at most grocery stores, just ask someone where it is.  This is a great item to have for other mediterranean recipes.  It’s delicious.

This relish can be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a week.

Recipe from:  Bon Appetit 2014

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The relish was such a delicious topping on this chicken recipe from the cleanse.  It adds a super flavorful punch and a really nice crunchy texture too.  I love the flavor that is brought to the table by the pomegranate molasses.  You can absolutely taste it and I totally recommend going out and buying it even if it’s just for this.

If you’re wondering what that gorgeous lookin’ side of white beans is, you can read about it here.  These are just a few of the recipes from the cleanse… pretty awesome right?

You can find a few of my favorite cleanse recipes here…

Multigrain Hot Cereal w/ Pomegranate & Crunch

Multigrain Hot Cereal w/ Pomegranate & Crunch

Avocado Smoothie

Avocado Smoothie

Spiced Cashew Crunch

Spiced Cashew Crunch