Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Chocolate Tart

Now that Christmas is over, I'm believe I'll be heading in a tad bit healthier direction with my recipes...While my recipes wouldn't be described as "fatty" or unhealthy, I think I can step it up a bit in the nutrition department. That means: less carbohydrates, less white flour, and less refined sugar. It's a brave new world, and I'm jumping in! While this next recipe doesn't exactly jive with the whole paleo/green/crazyfit new me, it is simple, delicious, and you'll only want a sliver of this dark chocolate tart. Plus, my mother made it on Christmas, so it goes without saying that it'll be a hit.

If you look closely enough, you'll see Ben & Jerry's Greek Frozen Yogurt. If you think that Blueberry Graham Cracker Frozen Yogurt doesn't mix with chocolate tarts, you'd be wrong. 


8oz. gingersnaps, finely crushed (Anna's brand is the best)
1/4 cup melted butter 

12oz. bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped finely
1 cup whipping cream
1 egg and 2 yolks
1/2 cup sugar
pinch salt


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.   Crush the gingersnaps very finely, placing them in a plastic bag and rolling over them with a rolling pin does the trick. Next, add the melted butter and press crust mixture into greased tart pan, set aside. Combine chocolate and cream in saucepan and whisk on low heat until melted. Whisk egg yolks, egg, sugar, and flour in a separate bowl. Gradually whisk chocolate mix into egg mix and blend. Pour filling into crust. Bake 30 minutes until center is softly set. Allow to cool (if you can) and drizzle with some homemade caramel sauce (not diet friendly- but it's the holidays!!) I made this recipe here to go with my Christmas Eve Turtle Cheesecake. Now here's to good, healthy, resolutions and goals in 2013!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Whole Wheat Chocolate Minicakes with Cream Cheese Glaze and Candied Ginger

Whew! That's a long title, isn't it? I couldn't think of a better way to represent my little Christmas treats, so I thought I'd pack as many words into the title as I could. Why the name "minicakes"? Well, it's a lot cuter sounding than cupcakes (boring!) and I find it hard calling them cupcakes when: they're not that sweet, they're healthy, and you won't get cavities from eating one. I made these a week or so ago, but life has been a bit busy, so I hadn't had time to post pictures. They're little bites of joy, little flavor filled treats. I personally love eating big chunks of candied ginger solo, but I understand the flavor can be strong for some. I used only one giant bowl for these (washing before the glaze!). While the finesse may not be there, the flavor certainly is!

Mmmmm, don't they just look Christmas-y? I've been drinking a lot of hot cocoa recently, and I can tell you that these babycakes are divine with a steaming cup.



4 oz. dark chocolate (70% or more cacao) or half a bag of dark or semi sweet chocolate baking chips
3 tbsp. coconut oil
3 tbsp. agave nectar
1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
2 eggs
1 tbsp. powdered ginger
1 tsp. baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of cinnamon


1/2 c. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3 tbsp. powdered sugar
2 tsp. milk


candied ginger, found near the dried fruit in your grocery store


Preheat oven to 375. In a large saucepan, melt the coconut oil and chocolate over medium-low heat. When mixture is almost completely melted, remove from heat and stir until completely combined. Pour chocolate/coconut oil mixture into a large mixing bowl and add your remaining ingredients, reserving the flour last. If mixture is too dry, add a tsp. or so of soy, almond, or non-fat milk.

Now, grab your muffin tin, grease with some butter or oil, and then fill each about 3/4. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, keeping your eye on those minicakes. Let cool for about an hour, then mix up your glaze. My cream cheese was soft enough that I could just whisk it, rather than breaking out the Kitchenaid. I like the idea of a light glaze on these, because I want to taste the combination of chocolate and ginger and not be overpowered by a frosting. I drizzled my glaze lightly just on top. Finish with two or three small pieces of candied ginger and take a big bite!

Only NINE more days 'til Christmas! I already found my Christmas Dessert that I'll be making... and the appetizer, too!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Healthy Holiday Snacking

Believe me, I know as well as anybody how tempting holiday treats can be. Just set foot in a Trader Joe's and you'll see Peppermint-Chocolate-Covered This and Hazelnut -White Chocolate Dipped That. It's hard, my friends, it's hard. However, when you are ever so tempted, just whip up some homemade cheez its and some  pear-apple sauce (made entirely of pears!) With our schedule getting a little tighter due to new jobs, attempting to run outside most days, Christmas shopping, and planning Christmas Eve dishes, we've been trying to be mindful of what we're putting in our bodies. These treats, although not made of quinoa and flaxseed, are free of artificial ingredients and colors. You may even find the ingredients in your pantry right now!

Although I'd like to take credit for this ingenious recipe, I borrowed these yummy, bite sized cheese snacks from A Chow Life, an amazing blog. These do not take very long to make and they'll keep you satisfied when you're running around, shopping, or picking out your Christmas tree.

Next, a perfect compliment for your snacking, pear (apple) sauce. I would just call it "pear sauce", but that sounds pretty strange and unappetizing. At least to me, so bear with me.


3-4 soft Bosc pears, I'm sure you can use other varieties, but these are my favorite.
1 tbsp. cinnamon
3 tbsp. c. brown sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ginger
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
2 tbsp. warm water


This recipe is so easy you could do it while poring over the awe inspiring Nigella Lawson book, How to Be a Domestic Goddess. I am so specific, because that is precisely what I was doing while making this pear sauce. 

Simply roughly cut up your pre-skinned pears and pile them in a large sauce pan, then add 2 tbsp. warm water. Bring to a simmer slowly, then add the remainder of your ingredients, in no particular order. You may want to use less brown sugar, since the pears are generally very sweet, but it's up to you. Cover pan and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, checking frequently. Then bring heat down to a low and let sit covered for about 30 minutes.

Let cool before serving, burned tongues would not be fun. Serve to your loved ones, or have it in front of a crackling fire. Either way, know that something warm, healthy, and delicious is about to nourish your holiday addled mind!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ballard Pizza Company

My super great brother in law came to Seattle today for meetings, and we ventured out into the wet, damp, night to Ballard Pizza Company. We had been there before Thanksgiving but got a half and half pie this time! It was delicious; one side was the classic Margherita, the other was the Ballard Bridge, with Italian Sausage and specialty pepperoni. After a long day of work at my new job, I welcomed the chance to sit down and eat good food with good people. Ballard Pizza Company did not disappoint!

picture courtesy of Ballard Pizza Co.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Cranberry Bread Pudding

Mmmmm, bread pudding. I recently fell in love with the stuff when we frequented one of our favorite pubs after a long day of moving, and I rewarded myself with some apple bourbon bread pudding. Divine. Little did I know, that there is also savory bread pudding, which I happened to get at the Kingfish Cafe when friends were in town. Bread pudding: so many possibilities, so little time.

Even though we are working on limiting our carbohydrate intake, along with red meat, sodium, blah blah, I think this is worth taking a little time off from your regimen. Plus, the weather has been 'decent' here recently, so I've been running it off, I hope! This recipe came straight from the depths of my brain. I had some leftover cranberry walnut bread from Trader Joe's that we had at Thanksgiving, as well as some crusty whole grain stuff, so I thought why not. The result is pure happiness. I hope you agree.


About 3 cups of crusty, roughly chopped, preferably day old bread, (whole grain or sweeter bread is good with the tart cranberries)
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 c. heavy cream, 1/2 c. Pumpkin Spice Silk Soy Milk
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. fresh cranberries
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Then, butter a pie pan lightly, making sure to include the edges. Dust flour over surface of pie pan. In a separate bowl, mix cream, soy milk, and spices together. In the pie pan, spread around the chopped bread pieces, making sure all surfaces are filled. Then, evenly sprinkle granulated sugar and cranberries over the bread. Pour your cream/soy milk/spice mixture and cover the bread and berries evenly. Let soak for about an hour in the refrigerator. Then place in the oven for about 35-40 minutes, checking at 30 minutes, and removing from heat when edges are golden brown. Just to be sure, jostle the pan a bit and make sure that the pudding is one mass, rather than the liquid separating from the bread- if the bread has been soaked properly this should not occur. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes and enjoy with a scoop of ice cream or some tea! It's perfect for a Christmas Morning breakfast.

In other news, this is my SIXTIETH blog post! I can hardly believe it. This blog has been super fun to have and I feel very creative with it. Photography and cooking is such a good outlet for me, and I love sharing my thoughts on it. Hope you are all getting in the holiday spirit! We put our Christmas tree up yesterday and it brings such cheery warmth to my heart. Just like this bread pudding does!