Tag Archive | chocolate

Valentine’s day shake

Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends! I hope you have all had a special day today. I know some people don’t like this holiday, but I do…any excuse for an entire day to say ‘I love you’ to your loved ones is a great day in my book!  Although I am missing my valentine this year, I’ve been able to ‘celebrate’ V-Day with him two days in a row because of the time difference…can’t beat that!  Plus, I’m spending the weekend with my sister and Mom, so that is helping to fill the void for me. We just popped some bubbly and cooked a dinner of roasted veggies and fresh haddock. Yum. Yum. Yum.

I always find it fun on holidays to look back at the previous year and reminisce , so today I did just that in my camera.  On Valentine’s Day last year, Brandon made me my very own edible arrangement and cooked a wonderful coconut shrimp dinner. I much prefer eating in and celebrating together just the two of us on this holiday, so it was perfect.  I’ll never forget it! Love you, B.

And just for fun, this was our first  official Valentine’s Day together:
You know how college is…eating carbs before you drink your weight in booze….whoops, guilty! ; )

Anyway, since I’ve had a very busy last two weeks between three exams, applying for grad school, and maid of honor duties, I just haven’t had the opportunity to blog. I’m planning on doing  a catch-up post this week for sure, but with a spare few minutes tonight, I wanted to share this delicious Valentine’s Day protein shake I made this morning for my Mom and me as pre-workout fuel. It’s choc-full of strawberry and chocolate, gluten-free deliciousness, and I enjoyed every sip. I hope you do too!

Valentine’s Day Shake
(Serves 2 as a snack)
-2 scoops Arbonne chocolate protein powder (or any chocolate protein powder would do)
-1/4 cup-1/2 cup almond milk (plain or vanilla)-I used Almond Breeze vanilla, and started with 1/4 cup. Then I added a little more at the end of blending.
-1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
-1 scoop Arbonne fiber boost (optional) 
-8-10 frozen strawberries
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-handful of spinach
-1 tbsp flax (optional)
Crushed ice (to thicken if needed)

1) Put all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. Add more almond milk or ice water as needed. (I tend to like my shakes thick, so I always add less liquid. To me, a shake is best eaten with a spoon!) However, if you prefer a more liquefied shake, just add more water or almond milk. If you’d like it thicker, just use less.
2) Optional: Garnish with a strawberry to make more festive and enjoy!

What are you up to this weekend?
Did you have a fun valentine’s inspired meal today?

We are cheer’sing our girls weekend tonight, and tomorrow we are off to go veil shopping. Yay! Oh, and we are snuggling with the puppies : –) I will also be indulging in some Valentine’s Day caramels tonight…can’t wait!



St. Patrick’s Day Sweets: Mint Muddy Buddies Mix

Hi there and happy weekend! Is anyone else celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday? I was super surprised when I was told that the holiday of the Irish is technically not celebrated here in Australia, especially after living in Boston for the last 4 years. St. Patrick’s day is just about one of the biggest  holidays of the year there in terms of parties and celebrations! However, since we’re American and both Brandon and I are a little-bit Irish, we are definitely celebrating, regardless of whether or not it’s celebrated here. And by celebrating, I mean I’ll do the baking and he’ll do the beer/wine drinking! Case in point:
Thanks for the help, love! NOT!

Continuing on with my “no-bake” theme of the weekend, I searched Pinterest for St. Patrick’s Day- inspired recipes this morning, and when I found a “Thin-Mint Puppy Chow” recipe, I chose that as the base of my recipe inspiration. When I say I’m obsessed with puppy chow/muddy buddies, I whole-heartedly mean it. My Mom used to make these quite frequently for my sisters and me growing up, and they still remain a family favorite today. Today’s recipe is a bit different, as it swaps out your typical peanut butter and chocolate flavors for chocolate, white chocolate, and mint flavors. Plus, thanks to the lack of Chex cereal in Australia (seriously, I could not find one box!), I used a “Coco Pops Chex” cereal, that actually ended up being a stellar replacement. Just follow these steps and you’ll have a sweet treat to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in less than 20 minutes!

St. Patrick’s Day Mint Muddy Buddies Mix
Adapted from Your Cup of Cake

For the chocolate portion:
5 cups Coco Pops Chocolate Chex (or any Chex-like cereal)
1.5 cups milk-chocolate chips/melts
1/4 cup powered sugar (called baking icing in Australia)
1/2 tsp. of mint extract

For the white-chocolate portion:
5 cups Coco Pops Chocolate Chex (or any Chex-like cereal)
1.5 cups white-chocolate chips/melts
3/4 cup powered sugar (called baking icing in Australia)
1 tsp. of mint extract
1/2 tsp. of green food coloring (or more depending on the level of “green” you’d like)

Green chocolate candies (such as M&M’s or Cadbury drops)

1) Place 5 cups of Chex mix in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Then portion out your chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave them until melted, about 1.5-2 minutes (stir about halfway through), stirring until they are smooth. Add in the mint extract, and mix well.

2) Pour the melted chocolate over the cereal and mix until the pieces are coated well. Then mix in the powered sugar until combined. (You can also do this in a large Ziploc bag if you prefer to shake rather than stir.)

3) Next, dump the mixture on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in order to cool.

4) Now, for the white-chocolate mixture,  place another 5 cups of Chex mix in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Then portion out your white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave them until melted, about 1.5-2 minutes (stir about halfway through), stirring until they are smooth. Add in the mint extract and green food coloring to the white melted chocolate, and stir well.

5) Pour the melted white chocolate over the cereal, and stir until the pieces are coated. Then mix in the powered sugar until it’s combined. (Again, you can also do this in a large Ziploc bag if you prefer to shake rather than stir!)

6) Dump this mixture onto another parchment paper-lined baking sheet in order to cool.

7) Once both mixes are cooled, combine them in a large Ziploc bag or a large bowl if you are serving them immediately. If you have green candies, add these to the mixture and stir.


Festive muddy buddies=complete!

Instead of using a large bowl, I portioned my mixture into cupcake liners. Not only does this help me stick to a portion-or-two of the treat, I also think it’s a super-cute way to serve these at a party or gathering.

A festive, tasty, simple treat with no-baking required is a serious winner in my book! Just look how big the batch is:
We will be eating these all week…if they last that long! Enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day : – )

Mom’s Crunchy Surprise Cookie Bars

 Have you ever had a dessert that combines all of your favorite flavors in one? Chocolate…check. Molasses…check. Peanut-butter…check. I was sold…are you?

First things first…lets thank Mommy Rowden for this recipe. Last year, she told me she had made her “favorite” dessert when I traveled home to Maine for a long weekend. Well, my Mom has a lot of favorites, so I didn’t know what to expect…but this favorite took the cake. When I tell you that once you try one, you won’t be able to eat just one…I’m serious, good luck. I honestly have to tape the pan to stop eating these each time I make them.

The best part about these bars is that they’re good in any form…piping hot from the oven, cold from the fridge, and even at room temperature. I suggest you make them three times, then you can try each way to see what you like best! They saying is true…this recipe is definitely “an oldie but a goodie!!” –check out the recipe card if you don’t believe me! It’s definitley been used over and over again! 

oldie but a goodie!

Mom’s Crunchy Surprise Cookie Bars


1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 package (12 ounces) semi-sweet real chocolate chips
1 cup Sun-Maid seedless raisins
1 cup peanuts (optional—I don’t include these).
1/3 cup peanut butter (Crunchy or creamy works–I used reduced-fat crunchy).

1) Heat oven to 350°. Mix sugar, butter, molasses, egg yolk and vanilla with spoon. Stir in flour and 1 cup chocolate chips.

first ingredients

Mommy dearest, mixing away



2)Press dough in un-greased 13×9 rectangular pan. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. *I like mine under-cooked, so I usually take mine out after 22. Watch them closely!

delicious dough, spread evenly

3) While the bars are cooking, mix the remaining chocolate chips, the raisins, and the peanut butter in a saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate chips are melted.

stovetop ingredients

the best chocolate sauce around!

4) Once the bars have been removed from the oven, spread the chocolate/peanut butter mixture over the crust in pan. Refrigerate at least 2 hours ( I usually stick mine in the freezer for 20 minutes, to speed up the process). Cut into bars. Enjoy!

spreading the sauce evenly

Mom's surprise bars!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake Cookies

Today marked the start of my holiday baking. Trust me, I’m extremely ashamed…this is a VERY late start for me. To be honest, I didn’t want to make these. I have been DYING to make gingerbread truffles(recipe is soon to come!) but time was an issue tonight. So instead, I settled on this tasty treat. While they aren’t the fanciest of cookies, they certainly are delicious. And I know what you must be thinking…mint chocolate chip, cake, and cookies? Hey it’s Christmas…why not? Plus, these cookies are as good as they sound. They’re moist like a cake, chewy like a cookie, and chock-full of mint flavor.

The best part about these cookies is how easy they are to make. In less than 20 minutes, I had a batch of two dozen cookies. If you’re looking for a quick, tasty, inexpensive Christmas treat, it’s right here!


Mint Chocolate Chip Cake Cookies
1 box Devil’s Food cake mix
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup chopped mint chocolate chips (I used Andes)
Powdered sugar for garnish (about 1/2 cup)


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray cookie sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
2) Combine cake mix, oil and eggs in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until everything is combined. Then, pour in mint chips and stir.

dough + candies

3) Pour powdered sugar into a small bowl. Roll cookie dough into balls and roll around in bowl of powdered sugar until they are coated in a thin layer of the sugar.

dough ball


4) Place dough balls on cookie sheet and bake for approximately 12 minutes.

dough balls

alllll baked!


5) Cool on cooling rack and enjoy.

christmas cookies!

After I taste-tested a few cookies (as every baker should) I packaged them up to give away to my co-workers in these cute little goody bags. If anything gets me excited for work, it’s this! Countdown to Christmas is on!

cookie bags!