Top 10 Recipes of 2013

Looking back over 2013 its been a wonderful year of food, friends, travel and new beginnings! It’s hard to believe 2014 is already upon us- it feels like last month I was ringing in 2013. Going through the archives of the last year I looked to see what were the most popular and search recipes on my blog- here they are for you to enjoy. I hope all of you have a happy, healthy and safe New Years with your loved ones! Cheers to you!

1. Red & Yellow Bell Pepper Sauce with Sausage Over Fresh Pappardelle photo-782. Healthy Whole Wheat Carrot Coconut Morning Glory Muffins

3. Black Bean, Kale & Quinoa Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette  Kale:quinoa4. Game Day Buffalo Chicken Dip photo-1985. Almond Crisped Peaches photo-324

6. Healthy Banana “Ice Cream” photo-343

7. Roasted Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Penne photo-156

8. One Pot Hot Oat & Quinoa Cereal photo-69

9. Healthy Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili chili10. Ginger Soy Chicken Lettuce Cups

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Chocolate Bark

Howdy friends! Its been another long break from blogging- I hate going too long with out posting something but I’ve been traveling a lot and busy getting the last of my holiday shopping finished. I was up until 1am last night wrapping my holiday gifts so I could ship them back East in time for Christmas. I thought I was so on top of things until I realized there was only one week until Christmas!

It’s not hard to believe that I love giving edible holiday gifts! Delicious holiday treats like cookies, candy and chocolates are always a welcomed gift at my house and people always appreciate a homemade gift. But lets be honest, with how busy the holidays get, finding time to bake 30 dozen cookies to give to all your friends isn’t always in the cards! Chocolate bark however only requires about 20 minutes of “cooking” and prep time before leaving it out to harden and voila… you’ve got a beautiful, homemade gift that everyone will love! I’ve always been intimidated with chocolate bark until I read this article from Food52 on how to make chocolate bark without a recipe- turns out its SO easy!

So I decided to experiment with two kinds and they both turned out great! The first bark is a classic made with dark chocolate, cherries, apricots and roasted peanuts. Feel free to swap the peanuts for almonds, cashews or pistachios or the cherries for dried cranberries or blueberries! The second bark I made was a dark chocolate and peanut butter swirl with cherries, coconut and pretzels. The salty sweet comb was to die for! Whip up a batch to bring to your holiday party this weekend, its sure to be a hit!! Enjoy!

Classic Chocolate Bark

  • 16 oz (4 bars) Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet baking bar
  • 3/4 cup chopped apricots
  • 3/4 cup chopped salted peanuts
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries
  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray, set aside.
  2. Melt the chopped chocolate bars in a large Pyrex bowl set over a pot of boiling water until a few large chunks still remain. Remove from heat and continue stirring until all the large chunks have melted. Using a rubber spatula, pour chocolate onto baking sheet with parchment paper and spread evenly.
  3. Generously sprinkle apricots, peanuts and cherries over the chocolate. If you prefer to add more or less of each feel free!
  4. Set aside and let the chocolate cool for at least 2 hours. Chop into 1″-2″ pieces. Serve at room temperature and Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bark

  • 8oz (2 bars) Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet baking bar
  • 8oz (2 bars) Ghirardelli semi-sweet baking bar
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup chopped pretzels
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries
  • 3/4 cup dried coconut
  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray, set aside.
  2. Melt two of the 60% chocolate bars in a large Pyrex bowl set over a pot of boiling water until almost smooth. Remove from heat and continue stirring until all the large chunks have melted. Using a rubber spatula, pour chocolate onto baking sheet with parchment paper and spread evenly.
  3. Return the bowl over the boiling pot and melt the two remaining semi-sweet chocolate bars with the 1/4 cup peanut butter until smooth. Pour this mixture on top of other chocolate mixture and swirl using a fork or spatula.
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate with pretzels, cherries and coconut.
  5. Set aside and let the chocolate cool for at least 2 hours. Chop into 1″-2″ pieces. Serve at room temperature and Enjoy!

Miso-Creamed Kale

photo-454I’ve been on a kale kick lately, can you tell? I love how many different ways there are to prepare kale and that you can eat it just about every meal! I was looking for something different to serve for Thanksgiving this year, normally I make Brussels sprouts as my “green” side but since I always make them I thought I should branch out.

I found this recipe on Food52 and I was intrigued by the combination of ingredients. I’m a huge fan of Asian flavors, especially miso so I thought I would give it a try- I am so happy I did! This has become one of my new favorite side dishes and it will most definitely become a holiday staple!

Here are a few other pictures from our Thanksgiving feast, enjoy!

Miso-Creamed Kale (Serves 4 as a side)

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed, roughly chopped (you should have 4 to 6 cups packed kale)
  • 1/2 cup shimeji mushrooms with stems, or shiitake mushroom tops (or baby bella)
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon white (shiro) miso, or more to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Put 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. When melted, add the shallot and garlic. Cook over low heat without letting the garlic and shallots color, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the kale and continue to cook for a few more minutes until wilted.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small pan set over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened and cooked through, about 5 minutes. If the mushrooms become too dry, add another tablespoon of butter. Stir in the soy sauce, cook another minute and remove from heat. Set aside.
  3. Once the kale is wilted and soft, increase the heat to medium high, add the vermouth and cook until it’s just evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the cream and miso, stirring until completely incorporated. Reduce heat to medium and cook about 2 more minutes until the sauce reduces slightly and tightens up the around the kale. Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper if you like (but don’t forget the mushrooms have soy sauce). Place the kale on a warm platter and scatter the mushrooms over the top. Serve immediately.

Kale Monster Detox Smoothie

photoI hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving! Sorry for the delay in posts- I’ve been recovering from cooking and eating overload! I can’t wait to share some of the awesome recipes I made for our Thanksgiving feast. I was in serious need of a detox after the holiday weekend- I ate pumpkin pie for breakfast Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend… Sorry I’m not sorry- it was delicious! img_7398BUT with only two and half weeks until Christmas and all those holiday parties around the corner, I’m feeling the need for a healthy dose of green goodness. If you’re looking for the ultimate super food or “queen of greens” its KALE. IMG_5547It literally has all the good stuff- it’s an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K, its also packed with fiber and anti-cancer health benefits- You get the picture, this stuff is GOOD! I understand, drinking straight kale in the morning doesn’t sound super appealing- but you throw some strawberries, banana and almond milk in the picture and you’ve got a delicious, healthy and detoxifying breakfast! Enjoy!

Kale Monster Detox Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 5- 6 large frozen or fresh strawberries
  • 1 large frozen banana, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 a large cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1 1/12 cups vanilla almond or soy milk
  • 4 large kale leaves, chopped (stems removed)
  • 1 large handful spinach
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed (optional)

Combine almond milk, frozen banana and cumber in a blender. Add kale, spinach, strawberries and flax seed. Blend until smooth. If the smoothie is looking too thick add more almond milk until desired consistency. If you’re using fresh strawberries you may wish to add a hand full of ice.  Enjoy!