Sunday, December 23, 2012

Home Made Heath Bars

Yes, I know this is not the healthiest recipe or dessert, and it doesn't really fit my healthy dessert category, but Heath-bars are my brothers top favorite candy so I made these as a gift. They are good for your soul. And I did have to get rid of the small tidbits that fell off and were un-gift-able. Oh My Goodness. Heavenly. And everything is ok in moderation.

So in other words for a very special treat, try these.

Thank you for your reliable and easy recipe. No fail for those who have never made candy :)

I split it into lots of baby steps, but really it takes like 30-40 minutes in total and is a breeze. I just don't like to search in my recipes.


Makes 1-1/2 lbs (48 servings according to BHG, I didn't count)

  • 1
    cup chopped toasted almonds (or other nut) divided* see note if need toasting instruc.
  • 1
    cup butter (yes, use it all)
  • 1
    cup sugar
  • 3
    tablespoons water
  • 1
    tablespoon light-colored corn syrup
  • 3/4
    cup semisweet chocolate pieces


1.         Line rimmed cookie sheet with foil, folding edges over sides.

2.         Sprinkle 1/2 cup nuts on pan

3.         Butter sides of heavy 2-quart saucepan using one of your sticks of butter. Add butter to pan and      
            melt. Add sugar, water, and corn-syrup and bring to boil over med-high heat. STIRRING     \

4.         Reduce heat to medium, keeping steady boil, and insert candy thermometer (still STIRRING)
            until you reach 290 degrees (watch carefully at 280 to keep from burning) ~about 15 minutes

5.         Candy should be golden brown. Remove from heat, take out thermometer, and pour over pan as
            evenly as possible, spreading to fill holes if needed with knife or metal spoon.

6.         Let stand for a minute (until top is firm) then sprinkle chocolate chips over warm candy. Let sit
            for 5 minutes, then spread melted chips over top (have faith, it will cover it all and will melt)

7.        Sprinkle with last 1/2 cup nuts and pop in fridge to harden.
8.        When hard, remove from fridge, lift/peel from foil, and break into pieces (if some are too small,
            not a bad time for samples ;)  Place pieces in tightly covered airtight container (layering
            parchment paper between layers is not a bad idea).

Storage: I store mine in the freezer b/c one, its humid here and candy loves to get sticky, but also frozen candy tastes better and always has a crunch. (fridge works too) just says store tightly covered, so i guess you can store countertop, but I can't vouch.


*If you need to toast your nuts, chop and measure, then toast in oven at 350 until golden brown. Watch them! They go fast (2-4 min) and will burn!

Lacey Cookies

These are crisp, toffee-like, moldable, and FAST. Most of all, my family is obsessed with the ones at Whole Foods (filled with chocolate like a sandwich) so I thought I'd better learn how to make them and hopefully find the healthiest recipe possible.

Well, here's what I found. See original recipe here. I tweaked it a little by adjusting the honey.

4 ingredients. 5 minutes. Bake. Mold. Done.

Super fast and easy. Besides leaving them out too long in humid weather (which you don't do with any cookie) and letting them get sticky and un-crisp, these are fool proof. It makes the process much faster if you pick up the parchment paper off the hot cookie sheet when getting them to firm up and set. (also frees up the tray for another batch, why only make one?) These spread 2.5 inches across and look super impressive (no one needs to know how easy it was)

Total time ~15 min when you get the flow.

Makes ~12 cookies


2 Tbs. Butter
2 Tbs. Brown Sugar
1 1/2 Tbp Honey
2 Tbs Whole Wheat Flour (or fresh ground oat flour or almond flour is supposed to work for gf cookie.
                                            let me know)



-preheat oven to 375

-mix butter, sugar, and honey in a small saucepan and melt and mix -->

-remove from heat and whisk in flour of choice

-drop teaspoons of batter onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet 3 inches apart

-bake for ~6 min (or until bubbly, spread out, and golden brown in color)
  *they need to hit a certain temp to crisp up, so you want to see lots of bubbles and deep carmel color.
   when they dry they should be slightly holey, not a solid puddle*

-when set enough to pick up, mold into shape wanted and let set some, then place on drying rack or place directly on rack for flat cookies
           Shape ideas:
           - tubes like I did around a wooden spoon handle -->
           - mini cone shapes (top with ball cookies, meringues, or other filling for mock ice-cream cone)
           - bowls (for desserts), mold over bottom of cupcake pan or other bowl shape
           - tacos
           - wafer (flat, can fill with chocolate or other fun things or top with fruit and whipped cream)

-let set and dry, then place into airtight container

-if filling with chocolate see below update

*(don't let sit out in super humid weather for too long, will get sticky and un-crisp)


So I made these again. 

This time I used 1 1/5 Tbs of agave (in place of the honey) because I realized that last time I couldn't read the recipe and used tsp vs. Tbs.  The result...... I think using tsp makes a crisper cookie. HOORAY FOR MISTAKES! 

I also made a chocolate filling. (My bro is obsessed with chocolate)

Here is the ratio (it will make too much, so you may want to scale it down unless you have some fruit or other dipping goodies on hand) 

-3/4 cup chocolate chips
-1 Tbs vegetable shortening

Place in microwave safe bowl and microwave for ~1 min
Stir and go again for 30 sec, Stir
Continue with 10 sec intervals until 3/4 of the chips are melted
Stir until all chips are melted
Spread/drizzle onto cookies and place into the fridge to firm up. 

*use this ratio for any dipping chocolate :)

Sandwiches and tacos
(tacos are easier, fill and fold)


Friday, December 14, 2012

Healthy Coffee Cake for One

Yes you heard right. Healthy. Coffee. Cake.
Wanna hear something even better? You can make it in 5 minutes and its all for YOU!!!!!
I recently have begun following Chocolate Covered Katie's Blog of healthy desert recipes and you need to check it out. It is completely dedicated to making desert an everyday affair with flair no matter who you are. She has a slew of "for one" recipes, and I do love coffee cake, so I went for it. The only thing I will do better next time... put some streusel in the middle too like the instructions suggest. Though if your lazy, just putting it on top works great. 

Check out the original post with nutrition facts: here.

I don't have her permission to post the recipe yet (I'm asking) so I will leave you with a link, a picture, and what I chose to do.

The best part of this recipe? Besides the fact it is guilt free and DELICIOUS (I don't joke about coffee cake).... I cooks in 1 minute in the microwave. Thats right!

*I used all whole-wheat flour as the flour, real sugar, and applesauce throughout.* 


Roasted Butternut Squash, Mushroom, Chickpea Salad

Oh. My. Goodness.
I just made this up for dinner and it was delicious! A few days ago we got diced fresh butternut squash from Costco (Ready to go! How great is that?) and I have been waiting for a good time to roast it up. Tonight was the night. I just got some mushroom kits from Fungi Perfecti ( and started up my Pearl Oyster kit about 4 days ago. They grow FAST and are BEAUTIFUL!

I am so exstatic to be able to have fresh gormet organic mushrooms, and tonight was my first harvest. So... looking up the butternut squash salad recipe I just pinned on pintrest, I grabbed some guidelines and went to town. (see inspiration recipe here)
In here we have the yummy title ingredients, but also quick pickle beets for crunch and sweetness, and a scant few Plumamazins. If you have never had a Plumamazin (click link for info), they are delicious diced dried plums for salads, cereals, etc. They are higher in fiber and lower in calories and sugar than raisins, and they taste yummy in salad as a nice sweet bite.

Serves 3-4 (at least it does for my family)

Roasted Portion:
2 cups cubed Butternut Squash (~.5 to 1in cubes)
1 15oz can Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
1 Bunch of Pearl Oyster Mushrooms (see photo for ~amt.)
Curry Powder
1 tbs. Olive Oil

Quick Pickle Beets:
1 beet thinly sliced
Lemon Juice

The Rest:
4 cups Salad Greens (I used beet greens, swiss chard, kale, and lettuce from my garden)
A few tbs. Plumasins or other dried fruit (a small sprinkling)

And anything else that you want to add :) 

-Preheat oven to 400 

-Put Squash, Chickpeas, Mushrooms in lightly sprayed lipped roasting pan. Sprinkle desired amt. curry powder over and toss with the Olive oil.

-Roast for about 30-40 min. Or until Squash caramelized slightly and chickpeas browned.

Marinating Quick Pickle Beets

-In shallow bowl place sliced beets and cover with ~1/2 1/2 vinegar and lemon juice. Toss and let sit

-When Roasted Portion done, remove from oven, combine with greens, Plumasins, and drained pickled beets.

-Toss and enjoy with favorite salad dressing (I went with Amy's ginger vinaigrette, but any lighter tasting dressing would be great)


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Refrigerator Pickles

Mmmmmm..... Cucumbers. One of my favorite fruits (yes they are fruit). Right now my garden is bursting with them. Especially Pickling Cucumbers! (If you haven't tried growing them, they are a snap here in Hawaii, just be sure to keep them watered!)

At the start of my harvest I only had 4 to use, not enough to make a huge water-processed batch. So I looked up how to make refrigerator pickles! This was my first pickling endeavor, and it couldn't have been easier or turned out better!
For all of my preserving needs, I turn to Foodinajar. A blog dedicated entirely to preserving and jar-foods! Take a peek!

I used her method for Refrigerator Dill Pickles with a few spice and ingredient adjustments. You don't need to worry about changing up the ingredients, because they don't need to be shelf safe, they life in the fridge!

My Pickles are longer than 4 inches, so I doubled the recipe and put them in 2 Quart jars. I used cucumbers of course, but also added some fresh picked hericot-vert (great for cooking with to add a tangy crunch like in one variation of my Zucchini-Noodle Pasta), and Baby Zucchini. I'm going to tell you a secret, you wouldn't be mistaken to make an entire batch of only zucchini pickles. They are the best pickles I have ever eaten. My family agrees. Don't get me wrong, the cukes are spectacular, but the zucchini are to die for! Also, the don't forget to enjoy the pickled garlic, its great in cooking, to eat, or sliced thin in salad!

This recipe can be halved, it can also be packed in pint sized jars


  • about 2 quarts of veggies   I measured using a 2 quart sauce pan, just pile in the uncut veggies and eyeball it  
    • I used 4 5-in pickling cucumbers, 2 small baby yellow zucchini, and a handful of hericot-vert)
  • 10 cloves garlic peeled (~5 per jar)
  • 2 tsp dill seed per jar
  • 1/2 tsp each Yellow Mustard Seed, Crushed Red pepper per jar
  • 3 green onions (whites) chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 4 tsp sea salt salt

Clean Mason jars with soap and hot water

Slice ends off veggies and cut into spears (be sure to take off blossom end of cukes, they make mushy pickles!)

Add cloves of garlic, green onions, and spices to each jar.

Bring water, salt, and vinegar to boil

Pack veggies into jars as tightly as you can without crushing them.

Pour brine into jars, leaving 1/4 inch head-space, and put on the lids

Let cool on counter until room about room temp (6+ hours or overnight)

Store in the Fridge and let set at least 2 days before enjoying!

Keep in fridge up to a month


Zucchini-Noodles Pasta!

I mad a discovery! I wanted desperately to share it with you the moment I ate it, but I had to go to bed + the internet decided to spaz out. That's life.

Currently my garden is pumping out Zucchini and Pickling Cucumbers out the Wazoo. Needless to say, I love zucchini, but one must get creative. That is where this spectacular dish comes in.
Du-du-du-DAAAA!  :

Zuchinni Pasta

No, not pasta with zucchini, but the zucchini makes that pasta itself. This was incredibly easy, adaptable, AND healthy too! Even better, it is impressive. It seems like a top of work (our secret) and looks and tastes like an upscale restaurant. Serve it any day of the week, or at a dinner party to impress, with a nice garden fresh salad. Delightful, divine, and delicious!

All you need is a few squash, a colander, a veggie-peeler, and whatever you would normally put on pasta (although so far I tried it with a tomato sauce, and the flavors complemented each-other to a tee!) I would also like to add that of those in my family that had it for dinner, it got raving reviews. Even the skeptics came for seconds.

I got the basic technique from Allrecipes, but improved on it. (I just added the like to put credit where credit is due)

Although this can be made like any noodle-pasta preparation, My recipe below will call for what I added. Use whatever is in your fridge. All of the pickled ingredients come from my Refrigerator Pickles (check out the post, they really made this version pop! and are so easy, I promise it doesn't taste weird!)

Here we go!
Recipe:  Serves 3-4
40 min total (10 minutes active time)
  • 4-5 garden fresh Zucchini (If serving with salad 1 to 1 1/4 squash per person)
  • salt
  • A few pickled haricot-vert (or other additional veggies slice. ex: mushrooms, asparagus, green beans, ... whatever you think would be good with your sauce) 
  • 3-4 cloves Pickled garlic (or fresh garlic)
  • a splash of Pickling liquid (or water, or stock)
Pasta before adding tomato sauce.
  1. Making the noodles:  Wash and dry zucchini. Slice of ends. Use a vegetable peeler to make long ribbons (end to end) they don't need to be perfect. If the squash gets too seedy and there is no "squash" bordering the seeds on your ribbons towards the center, just add those slices to your salad! 
  2. Drain Noodles: Sprinkle with salt, add to colander, rotate/lightly toss, add a little more salt and rotate again. We are salting to get the squash to sweat. Most should wash off when boiling the noodles, so don't worry (not to say go salt crazy though! Just don't get over-salting preoccupied). Set in sink for 30 min to drain (or slightly longer if you need to/forget, just at least 30 minutes).
  3. Boiling noodles: Boil a large pot of water (same as if making regular pasta). Add noodles gently by handful (don't plot them in and plash water everywhere please!). Gently stir and cook for 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.
  4. Flavoring your creation: Slice and add the garlic and pickles (or desired vegetables) to a saute pan over med-high heat. Stir until heated, keeping the garlic from sticking. Add in drained noodles. Wet with a splash (2-4 tablespoons-ish) of pickling liquid or other liquid. Stir to separate pasta and incorporate the garlic and beans. Cook until most of liquid has been evaporated (3-4 minutes). Add a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce and stir to heat. Pull the pan off the heat, and serve it up with a side salad and a pinch of Parmesan Cheese. 


While I implore you to try this version if you have the ingredients on hand. If you don't adapt it! :

Use other veggies, leave them out entirely, make your own rough tomato sauce, toss in a touch of olive oil and Parmesan and capers, add a cheese/cream sauce, a puree of another garden veggie as a sauce, ...  the possibilities are endless
Treat it exactly like you would regular pasta and have healthy, delicious fun!!!!

Also if you use tomato sauce, it IS worth it to branch out and get a fancy, good tomato sauce. Save the Prego for another day and try something like: Mezzetta Artichoke Parmesan Marinara. Not only is it delicious, it is healthy and low in fat and calories. It's my family's new favorite!

Garden Fresh Omelets

A Beautiful Start to a Beautiful Morning

This morning I woke up and was motivated to get stuff done....
Ok, while that is not entirely true, after I ignored my 7:15 alarm and slept until 8:07, then I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed; I felt fully ready to take on the day. Well, almost fully. I still needed breakfast (It's the most important meal of the day you know.) Feeling like more than my Kashi cereal, I asked my mom what I should have. Reply: "Go make an omelet." So an omelet I made. With garden fresh ingredients of course.

I went out into my garden and picked two baby zucchini, only 3 inches long with their beautiful golden blossom still attached. While out there I grabbed a few leaves of arugula to add as-well. Inside I did a small kitchen raid of the contents of my local CSA box and was rewarded with a few mushrooms and some flat leafed parsley. Mmmmm...

A wonderful way to use up the never ending supply of zucchini and zucchini blossoms.

Enjoy your own garden fresh creation!

Try this with any combination of fresh garden or local produce, or if needed.... grocery store veggies.
And eat a healthy satisfying breakfast that will impress others as-well as yourself.

And so my omelet went:

On high heat a small pan (omelet sized), reduce to med-high.
Spray with some olive-oil non-stick spray.
Add two small dice button mushrooms and move around.
Thinly slice your fresh picked baby zucchini, chopping the blossom when you reach it, and throw it in with the mushrooms. Stir again.
Chop a small sprig of parsley and add to pan.
Chop 3 or 4 pieces of arugula and add to pan.
With a fork whisk 2 eggs and a splash of milk.
Evenly distribute veggies BEFORE pouring eggs over evenly.
Now cook undisturbed on med to med-high heat until the very edges look slightly puckered and cooked-egg yellow.
Here the edge has been lifted, runnies tucked under,
and is right "wetness."

Take a rubber spatula and gently circle the pan, lifting the edge of the omelet. (lead with the curved edge if your spatula has a curved and a angled edge.) Then tilt pan with a small bit lifted to get the runny uncooked egg under to the heat. Cook until the top is slightly wet but not raw-egg runny. Add a touch of salt, cracked pepper, and a pinch of mozzarella cheese.

Then, the hard-ish part:  The moment that decides whether you made a fancy scramble or an omelet. (either was on purpose of course :P   )

Go ahead and circle the pan again. Going under a bit further under each time. 
Then using my good friend gravity, tilt the pan and gently fold one edge to the middle. Repeat with opposite side (half folded omelets are too tough for me, I think the 1/3 style is more elegant anyway.)
Gently slide/scoop onto waiting plate.

Top with another pinch of cheese, some more pepper, and a spoonful of Pace-Med-Salsa.

If you have never put salsa on eggs, well one you never lived in Texas for any portion of your life, but you are missing out. The freshness of the tomatoes complements the eggs as well as the other vegetable perfectly. (Also Pace is my favorite for eggs if your are deciding). Otherwise the eggs feel naked, we can't have that!

Clothe Me!!!!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hot chocolate on a stick

 Hot Chocolate On a Stick

I came across this gift idea before Christmas, and thought it was one of the coolest make-your-own gifts out there. (I stalled so long before posting, because I needed to give out all of my gifts first). The original idea and recipe is courtesy of Amber Lee @ Giverslog. Check out her postings, they are adorable! Not only that, but she has an online store that specializes in making these delicious concoctions. [But why buy what you can make yourself in any flavor you want?] It may seem a tad intimidating, but they are is very easy to make. Also, if your chocolate loses temper and doesn't look as pretty, its ok because you will probably be dipping them in extra chocolate and fun add ins! Also losing temper doesn't affect taste :)

The original instructions, as well as some very insightful chocolate selecting tips can be found at the Giverslog post. I highly recommend going over her notes on choosing chocolate and melting tips!

 Makes 10-15 hot chocolates (more or less depending on your mold)
  One Hot chocolate makes 1 cup prepared (depending on preference)

  • 8oz good chocolate like Ghiradelli bakers chocolate  (the better the chocolate the better the product. Don't use baking chips, they are made to resist melting. Can use any type: Dark, Milk, White, or Bittersweet. 
  • Extra chocolate for dipping (Use a different type for color contrast)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar sifted
  • pinch of salt
  • Any add-ins
    • 1 candy cane
    • 2-3 tsp cinnamon
    • ANYTHING you can imagine!

  • Ziplock or Piping Bags
  • A chocolate mold (candy molds, ice-cube trays, mini-brownie pans,...)
  • A double boiler, or a large glass bowl that can sit over a pot of boiling water
  • Sticks (Popsicle sticks are great!)

BEFORE STARTING! CHOCOLATE and LIQUID DO NOT MIX, IT CAUSES SEIZING! Keep your work-place dry! (see her post for advice on fixing seizing)  
  1.   Chop up/ break up chocolate into small pieces and begin to melt in a glass bowl set over (not sitting in) boiling water [or use double boiler]. When 3/4 the way melted, take off heat, dry bowl with a towel, and stir until all lumps gone (over heating chocolate causes it to lose its "temper." Resulting in a product that although will work, won't melt as easily or be as shiny) 
  2.  Mix in sifted sugar and cocoa powder (as well as any mix ins. See note below)
  3. Stir until frosting like in consistency
  4. Scoop into Ziplock bag with one corner snipped
  5. Place molds on a baking sheet (makes moving easier)
  6. Pipe into molds, jiggle molds to get chocolate to settle
  7. Let sit for a 1-2 minutes, then insert sticks (Can lie horizontal sticks lengthwise along both sides of the horizontal sticks to keep them standing straight if you are having trouble)
  8.  Stick into freezer to set for 5-15 minutes [don't store there, will absorb weird flavors]
  9. Pull out when very firm and pop/tap/wiggle/pull your hot chocolates out. 
  10. If dipping:
    1. melt dipping chocolate in the same way as above
    2. dip hot chocolates in 1/2 way and shake off excess
    3. Can set back on baking sheet (with parchment paper) or dip in extras (chopped candy canes, cinnamon and sugar, cocoa powder) to keep bottoms from sticking while drying  ->
Add ins (these are just what I tried):
For candy cane hot chocolates: finely chop one large candy cane (2 regular sized) Add 1/2-3/4 into melted chocolate before adding cocoa powder and sugar. At end when dipping, use reserved candy cane to dip in and finish

For Cinnamon spice: Add in 2-3 tsp of cinnamon (to taste) at same stage as above. Use a cinnamon sugar mixture for dipping.


Keep in sealed airtight containers. Dark chocolate will keep up to a year. Milk/white several months. Don't keep in fridge because it will absorb odors. (remember candy-canes/candy used for dipping can get sticky in our Hawaii weather, so I mean Air-tight! :)

To serve: Heat one cup (measure varies on strength preference) of milk, half-and-half, cream, water, or a mixture. Stir in Hot Chocolate


(Fun idea: maybe use candy-canes as sticks. HMMMMM....)

Please post any ideas, variations, photos, or experiences you have! :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Oodles of oatmeal: first flavors

Here are some of my first flavor additions to my easy plain oatmeal

I would also like to add that I have switched from my old method above to making my oatmeal with Quaker's mixed grains hot cereal. It is full of more fiber and is lower calories. I make it exactly how it says to on the box. 1/2 cup dry plus 3/4 cup water heated for 1 minute or so. MMMMMMMM....  
Still both methods are good ways to prep oatmeal, and if you don't like real mushy oats do try my afore-mentioned method by following the link above


Fresh sliced strawberries
         -I would say that this is a wonderful treat if you can muster up some berries. A great start to the morning.

1 tsp Peanutbutter
        -Suprisingly you only need one tsp or so to flavor your whole bowl. Peanutbutter is very good at sending out its exceptional taste with very lottle needed. My only note is that it does soak up extra moisture and becomes a bit sticky. Either enjoy the gooey goodness, or compensate with more water.
        -This is also good accompanied with a small handful of raisins

Frozen peaches
        - If you have fresh peaches or nectarines, use them instead. Put the frozen peaches in before heating, mash slightly and mix.
        - this flavor is good, but not the best to be honest. I'm sure it would be worlds better with fresh fruit.

1/2 a Banana and a dash of Cinnamon
      -There is something magic about this combo. It is warm, filling, and tastes like desert :)

AND...... MY FAV!


To your dry oats and water add 2 heaping spoonfuls of canned pumpkin. Then add a dash each of cinnamon, allspice, ground cloves, nutmeg, and ground ginger.
Aftr cooking, spritz a tablespoon or two of whipped cream on top and savor each bit with a touch of the fluffy or melted cloud.

ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!!!!   and very healthy whipped cream aside. (2 tbsp of whipped cream is only around 15 calories anyways)

Savor and enjoy your warming desert-like breakfast!

Peach frozen yogurt

Super Easy Peach Frozen Yogurt:

1 container lowfat vanilla yogurt ( I use Safeway's O Organics)
1 12 oz bag of frozen peaches
2 tsp vanilla exctract

Take peaches and heat in a microwave safe bowl until mostly thawed. Throw in the blender and add a little of the yo9gurt. Puree intil smooth. Add the rest of the yogurt and vanilla and blend. If needed add sugar/agave/honey to taste (remember the flavors need to be strong because freezing mellows flavor). Put into ice-cream machine according to instructions and enjoy!
If your not going to enjoy this treat right away, be sure to put into the fridge for 15 minutes or so before serving, or thaw in the microwave for 10 seconds.