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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Fat-Free Greek Yogurt

I am exhausted! Between my noisy neighbors, cracking heating pipes and my early morning run I barely have the energy to move this afternoon. Ugh. The great thing is even though I am barely able to peel myself off the couch this easy homemade yogurt recipe allows a lot of time to rest…for it and for you!

I love making yogurt and have perfected it for my own taste and accommodations. Feel free to play around with different fat contents but I keep my at 0% with skim milk and a 0% fat yogurt starter.

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Yep, I use a meat thermometer

Yep, I use a meat thermometer


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Fat-Free Greek Yogurt

  • 1/2 gallon non-fat milk; 2 tbl reserved
  • 2 tbl yogurt starter (Plain yogurt, I recommend NOT greek)
  • 2 tbl dry milk powder
  1. Turn oven on to Warm or 150 degrees
  2. Reserve 2 tbl milk and set aside.
  3. Rehydrate dry milk powder with a little milk (not reserved milk).
  4. Pour half gallon milk AND rehydrated milk powder into a sauce pan or dutch oven. Slowly warm milk over a medium heat stirring constantly. Heat to 180 degrees.
  5. Once milk has reached 180 degrees turn off heat and allow it to cool to 110 degrees.
  6. Meanwhile LIGHTLY incorporate reserved milk and 2 tbl of yogurt. DO NOT whisk or stir rapidly.
  7. Once your milk is at 110 degrees again LIGHTLY incorporate milk/yogurt mixture. Barely stir this in, just a few waves of your spoon.
  8. Turn off your oven. At this point if you are using a dutch oven put the cover on and wrap it in dry dish towels. If you do not have a dutch oven a covered casserole dish would work or individual mason jars.
  9. Place your yogurt into the oven. Remember the oven should be off!
    ***Some people leave their oven light on during this process. I actually don’t have one but my oven is always a little warm so I don’t need it. If you don’t feel comfortable using the oven some people put their yogurt on a heating pad. If it’s especially warm in your house/apartment you can just leave it out, as long as the temperature is consistent.***
  10. Allow yogurt to sit between 10-14 hours. I actually left this batch for 18 hours. If it’s soupy at 10 hours continue to let it sit.If you’re happy with the consistency you can go ahead and refrigerate and eat.
  11. For Greek Yogurt: Put yogurt in refrigerator for 3 hours. Line a strainer with cheese cloth, I make sure it’s layered 4 times. Place the strainer into a bigger bowl.
  12. After 3 hours of cooling, spoon whey off the top. Spoon the yogurt onto the cheese cloth. This will strain out the whey into the bowl. Place back in the refrigerator to strain. I allowed it to strain for about 2 hours.
  13. Now you can either dump the whey, or if you’re like me SAVE IT! I freeze mine into cubes and use in smoothies. Some people use it in bread making. I don’t really know the health benefits of it but I know it’s good for you!

Freezer Burritos

I never buy pre-made freezer meals! I hate them.

Well, I lied I do buy them sometimes….for Paul. I would rather make my lunch. Pay half the price. Know what’s in it. Etc. Paul on the other hand would rather eat a bag of pretzels for lunch than make a real one. Yes, this has happened.

So, every so often I will buy him those Evol, Annie’s or Whole Foods 365 Burritos. He loves them. I think they are a gigantic waste of money. They often range between $2.50 to $4.00/burrito, depending on the kind or if there are sales. Crazy. So I decided I would try my hand at making my own! It was a little time consuming but on a rainy Sunday afternoon (not to mention move-in day in Boston…eekk!) I didn’t mind and although I didn’t calculate the price, I feel confident that I am paying a lot less for these homemade babies!

Freezer Burritos

  • 6 large tortillas
  • 1 cooked chicken breast (crockpot, oven or skillet); shredded
  • 1/2 tbl olive oil
  • 1/2 onion; diced
  • 2 garlic cloves; minced
  • 1/4 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes in sauce (no salt added)
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese; shredded

Cook rice according to package. Set aside.

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil on medium heat. Cook until translucent and fragrant. IMG_1408
Add rice to onion and garlic. Add diced tomatoes. (I only used half a can with half the sauce but feel free to add more) Cook on medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated.IMG_1409

Remove from heat. Add cooked and shredded chicken, as well as black beans to the rice. Add chili powder, salt and pepper. Incorporate well and set aside.IMG_1410

Wet a paper towel and place tortillas on a plate. Cover tortillas with wet paper towel and heat in the microwave for 15-25 seconds until warmed. This makes them easier to fold.

Spoon equal parts of the rice mixture onto each tortilla. Top with shredded cheese and roll each tortilla up. Cover in tin foil or plastic wrap and freeze.IMG_1413IMG_1411IMG_1414
T
he verdict? Paul told me these outranked any of the store-bought burritos I have ever bought. Success! He microwaved it for 2-3 minutes, but this will vary from microwave to microwave, Ours is pretty pathetic…