PB & Chocolate Dates

Over Thanksgiving my aunt and cousins brought a really delicious and new appetizer to our house. When they opened the container and I laid eyes on what was inside, my face was smiling but my mind was saying “what the hell are those.” Well when they told me “Dates” I was even less enthused. HOWEVER, being open minded in every level of the food department I kept listening. The dates were filled with peanut butter and topped with confectioners sugar. Yep. And they were good!

Well, I have been racking my brain for some healthier desserts to satisfy our sweet tooth’s after dinner (or before) and these rang a bell. I made a few alterations to fit my lifestyle and I think they came out fabulous! I didn’t really use an exact recipe so bare with me as I put estimates below. These are super easy and super delicious!

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PB & Chocolate Dates

  • Natural Peanut Butter   (about 1/2 cup)
  • Pitted Dates  (About 20 dates)
  • Dark chocolate  (5 oz of dark chocolate` pieces from WF)
  • Sea Salt (optional)

Line a baking sheet with wax paper and set aside. Make room in freezer for sheet pan for later use.

Slice a small cut into each date so it is opened across the top. It will look something like a hotdog bun, if you will

I poured about 1/2 cup PB into a zip lock baggie, cut of the corner and piped PB into each date. Place date onto baking sheet and put in freezer for about 20-30 minutes, until PB has hardened.

In a microwave safe bowl (or using a double boiler) slowly melt chocolate. I heated mine in the microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring after each interval. Once chocolate is melted, use tongs to dip each date into the chocolate and place back onto the baking sheet. Allow excess chocolate to drip off before placing on sheet.

Top with a sprinkle of sea salt if desired. Place in freezer until hard.

Easy! Enjoy!

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Spicy Chorizo Bean Soup

I’m headed into the final days of my winter break and boy has it gone fast! Unfortunately for me…and my body I haven’t been the most productive or healthy person these last couple of weeks. I blame the holidays! (Because I need to blame someone right…?) Even with my best intentions its been hard not to oversleep a smidge, go light on the workouts and forget some of my usual eating habits. That being sad, I’m still feeling in pretty good shape, I’m just sad to say I’m in need of a good ole dose of my regular routine *sigh.*

Today we have a winter storm headed our way, “Hercules” if you will. This was the perfect opportunity for me to get up early, workout, clean and cook! A few things I have been slacking on for sure….

I cozied up in our broiling apartment and made some Chorizo Bean Soup and Southwestern Quinoa Casserole. Woop! Healthy New Year here we come!

Spicy Chorizo Bean Soup

  • 2 tbl coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 onion; diced
  • 4 cloves garlic: diced
  • 1 tbl dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 15.5oz can kidney beans; drained and rinsed
  • 1 15.5oz can garbanzo beans; drained and rinsed
  • 1 15.5oz can cannellini beans: drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch kale; washed and chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups broth (i used chicken)
  • 1 tbl rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 links chorizo; cut into rounds
  • salt

Heat oil in dutch oven (or soup pot). Add onions and saute on medium for about 4 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.

Add basil, oregano and rosemary and saute until fragrant. Add all beans, kale, tomatoes and broth to pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling add rice wine vinegar and red wine vinegar.

My kale is overflowing! Next time I'd recommend adding this to the pot first.

My kale is overflowing! Next time I’d recommend adding this to the pot first.

Allow to simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes add chorizo and continue to simmer for 30 minutes.

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Optional: Once soup has simmered use immersion blender to lightly blend some of the soup. This step is optional. I like it somewhat blended to make it a thicker soup, but with some texture. Taste the soup and add salt as needed.

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 Have a happy and healthy new year!

Beef & Broccoli

Friends, I had my very very last day of work this past Friday and ever since I’ve been go, go, go! I only have about three short weeks until I begin my newest adventure as a MSW student at Simmons College. Yikes! I can’t believe how fast it’s approaching, but I’m much looking forward to some time off beforehand. Paul and I visited the Cape for a night and boy did I get a little taffy/candy/seafood crazy! I had a legitimate food hangover today.

Due to my food hangover, I decided to try and get back on track today and whipped up a delicious, clean eating dinner. I’ve been wanting to make this Beef & Broccoli all week and today was the perfect opportunity since I already had the ingredients. Here ya go!

Beef & Broccoli

  • 1/2 lb beef sirloin, cut into stir-fry strips. (Got mine at Whole Foods)
  • 1 small broccoli crown
  • 1 tbl olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion; sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic; minced
  • 2 tbl soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger

.Steam broccoli (or boil if you don’t have a steamer) until tender. A fork should be able to easily pierce it. Set aside.
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In a non-stick pan, heat on medium-low and cook beef until browned. Remove grease from pan and set beef aside.
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Use the same pan and heat olive oil to medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent.IMG_1008
Whisk cornstarch and water together in a separate cup. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch-water mixture, and ginger to garlic-onion mixture. Continue to cook on medium until liquid has a thickened- about 3 minutes. IMG_1009
Add broccoli and beef to pan and incorporate. Allow mixture to heat evenly, about a minute,. We poured ours over brown rice and devoured it! Better than take-out!IMG_1011