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Homemade Dark Chocolate Almond Butter

Homemade Dark Chocolate Almond Butter

I think my brother and I have a serious problem.

Between the pantry and refrigerator, we had six different nut butters open last week, including the above-pictured 4-Ingredient Dark Chocolate Almond Butter. If coconut butter counts, we had seven.

In other words, we’re nutzos.
 

Being at home for more than a few days gave me the chance to unearth our food processor from a mountain of rarely used appliances buried in my parents’ kitchen cupboard. Now I know why I never made my own nut butter prior to trying this recipe from Angela Liddon of oh she glows.

It took about 15 minutes of processing to achieve a smooth texture, but the end result is well worth the wait. The processor does all the hard work, so the recipe isn’t difficult per say. You just have to scrape down the sides and melt the chocolate.

This sweet but healthy nut butter is smooth and creamy at room temperature but harder and more crumbly when refrigerated. It will keep for about a week at room temperature or up to one month in the fridge. Between my brother and I, the chocolaty goodness lasted only five days.  
In that time, I enjoyed a tablespoon or two spread on toast, mixed into overnight oats and crumbled in breakfast cookie dough cereal. Just eating a few spoonfuls straight from the container was magical. 
Apparently, refrigeration of homemade nut butters is not necessary in the Kolota household, and I’m sure it won’t be in yours either. Enjoy 🙂

P.S. I case you missed the previous links, you can find the recipe for this 4-Ingredient Dark Chocolate Almond Butter at oh she glows.

Questions:

  1. Have you ever made your own nut butter?
  2. Which one do you prefer – almond butter or peanut butter?

Of Possible Interest from oh she glows:

Chunky Cinnamon Raisin Nut Butter 

Homemade Mocha Nutella 

Fruit-On-the-Bottom Protein Peanut Butter

(Almost) Grownup Lunchbox: Apple Cheddar Grape Salad

(Almost) Grownup Lunchbox: Apple Cheddar Grape Salad

I’m ditching my Ziploc container and breaking out the big guns for this lunch.

Watch as I pile a day’s worth of fruits and vegetables into one big-as-your-head salad.

 Layer one = fruits, veggies and cheese

Layer two = broccoli slaw, spices, deli meat and/or beans (They’re hiding but definitely in there!)

Layer three = romaine lettuce

P.S. I’ll let you in on my secret for making your own portable dressing packet in the “steps” portion of the recipe below.

This salad is not one of those small, unsatisfying lunch options that makes you  reach for a snack an hour after eating. It’s definitely a lighter lunch option, but the hefty assortment of fruits, vegetables, and protein will keep you full for hours.

I, of course, have my handy dandy Pyrex bowl and its nifty plastic lid to thank in helping me create this salad. Heck, they are basically famous here on HGG. The giant glass container has held everything from Beef and Broccoli Thai Stir-Fry to Baked Garlic and Brown Sugar Chicken. I also have two smaller bowls, and all three are dishwasher, microwave, oven and freezer safe. Talk about versatility.

Anyway, making a salad for lunch in this bowl never crossed my mind. Maybe I thought the bowl was too big for my lunchbox? Turns out the bowl fits just fine along with my snacks.

I dare you to bring this salad to school or work tomorrow. People will stare but in a good way if you know what I mean. 😉

Apple Cheddar Grape Salad

Serves One

Difficulty: If you consider chopping vegetables difficult, then you might have a problem.

Total Preparation Time: Five minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of a small apple, diced (I used a Pink Lady apple.)
  • About 10 red seedless grapes, sliced in half
  • 1/8 cup baby carrots, diced
  • 1/8 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • One hefty handful of broccoli slaw
  • Two to three ounces deli ham (I used Oscar Mayer Selects Applewood Smoked Ham, which contains NO artificial preservatives!)
  • 1/4 cup canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and dried
  • One ounce cheddar cheese, cut into small chunks (I used Trader Joe’s  Raw Milk Aged Cheddar.)
  • Few dashes of cinnamon and black pepper (optional)
  • Two tablespoons of your favorite dressing (I used Ken’s Light Options Dressing Balsamic Vinaigrette.)
  • 1.5 cups romaine lettuce 

Steps: 

  1. Wash and cut all fruits and vegetables. Layer on the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Add the garbanzo beans and cheddar chunks.
  3. Slice the ham and layer on top.
  4. Add a few dashes of black pepper and cinnamon, if desired.
  5. Add the broccoli slaw and romaine.
  6. Cover the salad and place in the fridge for tomorrow.
  7. Add two tablespoons of dressing to a small plastic bag and place the bag in the fridge with your salad. Simply cut a small hole in the corner of the bag and drizzle on the salad when you’re ready to eat.
  8. Enjoy!  


Questions:

  1. Do you own Pyrex bowls or a similar type of container?
  2. Do you prefer sandwiches or salads for lunch?

Related HGG Posts:

 
 

Of Possible Interest:

Finding the Perfect Container for the Big Salad via LunchBots

Salad in a Jar! Make a Week of Healthy, Delicious Lunches via the Kitchn 

Cold Dishes to Share via the big lunch 

Turkey Burger Spaghetti Bowl

Turkey Burger Spaghetti Bowl

The following picture is what I call a hot mess of a meal . . .

But then again, how is eating spaghetti fun if you don’t get sauce all over your face? And let’s not forget to dirty the counter, the bowl, and your clothes while we’re at it.

I feel somewhat silly telling you how to make spaghetti, but I’ve realized lately that some people’s brains don’t work the same way mine does.

A normal person looks into the freezer, sees a turkey burger and decides to eat it on a bun with ketchup, mustard, cheese, lettuce, etc. Some frozen french fries might also make an appearance. When I look into the freezer, I see a turkey burger and decide to eat it bunless with tomato sauce on a bed of spaghetti and sauteed veggies.

I know. I’m weird.

Anyway, this meal is quick, easy, cheap and complete according to My Plate standards. Whole grains? Check. Veggies? Check. Lean protein? You betcha.

Go ahead. Make a healthy mess, and enjoy every bite. 🙂

Turkey Burger Spaghetti Bowl

Serves One 

Difficulty: Some multitasking is involved, but it’s manageable.

 

Total Preparation and Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • One frozen turkey burger (I used a Bubba Burger, which provides five grams of fat and 25 grams of protein for only 160 calories.)
  • One ounce whole grain spaghetti (I used Barilla.)
  • One handful each of frozen broccoli, fresh spinach, sliced red pepper and diced onion)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mrs Dash Tomato Basil Garlic Seasoning Blend
  • A few dashes each of ground black pepper and Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite pasta sauce (I used Classico’s Tomato & Basil, which is low in sugar but full of flavor.)

Steps:

  1. Spray a skillet with cooking spray and bring to medium heat. Also bring about four cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, place your turkey burger in the skillet and cook for five minutes.
  3. While the first side of the burger is cooking, slice and dice the peppers and onion. 
  4. Flip the burger when the underside is golden-brown. Add all veggies to the pan and season with the spices.
  5. At this point, your water should be boiling. Add the pasta and cook for eight to nine minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. While the pasta is cooking, stir your veggies around in the pan to avoid burning.
  7. Your burger, veggies and pasta should finish cooking at about the same time. Drain the water from the pot and place spaghetti in a large bowl.
  8. Add your veggies and sauce. Stir until well-combined. Place ‘the turkey burger on top.
  9. Use your fork and knife to swirl and stab pasta, veggies and protein all into one bite!

Questions:

  1. Do you prefer pasta or spaghetti?
  2. Do you prefer tomato sauce or Alfredo sauce? (Fun fact: I’m all for team red sauce, but my dad is in love with all meals involving white sauce.)

Related HGG Posts:

Easy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta

 

Italian Style Hummus Crusted Chicken with Veggies 

SAM_2846 

Spinach-Mozzarella Grilled Cheese


SAM_2942

Of Possible Interest:

Garlic Chicken Pasta Bowl – Del Monte

Cheesy Turkey Burger Pasta Skillet – epicurious

Black Bean Pasta Bowl – ready set eat

(Almost) Grownup Lunchbox 2013: Hello, Creativity

(Almost) Grownup Lunchbox 2013: Hello, Creativity

Humbleness is being thrown out the window right now. I’m tooting my own horn on this one.

My lunch-packing skills this semester have been awesome so far. Just check out what I stuffed into my handy-dandy Ziploc container for Wednesday’s lunch.

Spicy Sweet Potato Salad 

One-half of a large baked sweet potato topped with:

– Diced yellow squash, green bell pepper and yellow onion
– One ounce Swiss cheese
– My homemade salsa ranch dressing 
– Cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and pepper

One small navel orange (finally in season!) and baby carrots with one tablespoon Publix’s Chili Lime hummus and one tablespoon Trader Joe’s Fat-Free Spicy Black Bean Dip rounded out the meal.

I’m packing a full-fledged lunch with plenty of snacks every Tuesday and Thursday for long days on campus. Here’s a look at Thursday’s concoction, which I created using foods I needed to finish up before returning home for the holiday weekend.

Salsa-Ranch Chicken Salad

What I love about this recipe is that you could easily double or triple the ingredients to make a big batch for multiple lunches. Not to mention, it’s easy, light and tastes great when paired with crackers. I actually used Wasa Light Rye crispbreads, my current snacking obsessions, as scooping devices. A piece of Ghirardelli chocolate may have also found its way into my lunchbox too…

Serves One

Difficulty: Very Easy

Total Preparation and Cook Time: 20 minutes  

 

Ingredients:

  • Four ounces poached chicken breast (Here’s instructions on how to poach. I promise it’s a super-fast, super-easy cooking method you’ll become addicted to.)
  • Two tablespoons Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch yogurt dressing
  • Two tablespoons pico de gallo
  • 1/4 cup diced green and red bell peppers
  • 1/8 cup diced onion (any kind; red onion works best)
  • Dashes of black pepper, cumin, chili powder and garlic powder

Steps:

  1. Poach the chicken according to the online instructions found above.
  2. While the chicken cooks, chop the veggies and add to the lunch container or a small bowl. 
  3. Add the dressing, pico de gallo and spices to the container or bowl. Combine with the veggies until the sauce evenly coats the mixture.
  4. When chicken is finished cooking, let cool for five to 10 minutes or until chicken is not warm to the touch. Chop into small chunks.
  5. Add chicken to the veggie and sauce mixture and stir to combine.
  6. Eat or pack for lunch tomorrow with sides such as baby carrots; black bean dip and hummus; and an orange.

If my bursting creativity is any sign of what’s to come, 2013’s midday meals are going to be interestingly delicious and nutritious. I don’t know what’s in store for (Almost) Grownup Lunchbox this year, but I hope you join me every Sunday to find a new midday meal that lets you break from the mundane. 🙂

Related HGG Posts:

 

Italian Hard Boiled Egg and Cheese Sandwich

SAM_2769 

 

Super Simple Sour Cream Dressing

 

 

 

Smashed Avocado, Black Bean and Onion Sandwich

 

 

Questions:

  1. What types of lunches would you like to see this year on HGG? (i.e. more sandwiches, salads, meatless meals, etc.)
  2. Did you make a resolution to pack more lunches this year?

Of Possible Interest: 

 

Healthy Lunch Ideas – Laptop Lunches Bento Ware 

Great Packed Lunch Ideas – roanoke.com

So, Tell Me About Yourself

So, Tell Me About Yourself

Hello again everyone, and T.G.I.F.!

Yes, I’m singing Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” now, and I’m a nerd.

As you may remember, I dedicated 2013 to you, my beloved readers, shortly after Hungry Gator Gal’s move and makeover.

I’ve had the pleasure of talking with a few of you via comment and email. However, I know very little about the majority of HGG readers, which makes me sad. 🙁

It’s my fault for not encouraging more interaction in the past, but I’m trying to make up for lost time with the New Year. Thus, I created a short survey so I can learn more about who you are, where you’re from, etc.

You may access the survey at :
https://qtrial.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_1MrI2Gwld8EEafX

If you would like to provide feedback at a later date, click on the stars in the right corner above the search box. The survey is completely anonymous, and I will be the only person viewing the results. It will be open indefinitely.

Please complete the survey when you have a chance. It will only take a minute, and the answers will allow me to make HGG better for you in 2013.

Have a great night, and I’ll see you soon with a new weekend breakfast recipe. Hint: It involves syrup and butter.

Brianna