February Goals / Chocolate Nut Bars Recipe

I like to challenge myself with monthly goals.  Sometimes it’s easier to accomplish the big goal by breaking it down into smaller baby goals.  For example instead of saying I want to lose 50 lbs, I can say I want to lose 4 – 5 lbs a month.  That seems much more doable, right?

February goals:

  • I want to lose 5 lbs.
  • I want to wake up early to get my exercise done
  • I want to do yoga 3 times a week
  • I want to continue tracking our expenses and continue with our savings categories.

I suppose I could sum up all of my February goals by saying “don’t get lazy!”  I’ll post that up on my vision board.  “Don’t Get Lazy!”

How about you, do you have some goals you would like to accomplish in February?  I’d love to hear about them.

 

Chocolate Nut Bars

  • 4 cups of nuts, chopped – you can use any kind of nuts you like
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 Tbsp bitter sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup of honey

Layer the first 3 ingredients on a baking sheet, bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Bring syrup and honey to a boil then immediately remove from heat.  Place nut mixture into a large bowl, pour syrup over nut mixture and mix well coating all the nuts.  Pour mixture into a parchment lined rectangle dish and let cool.  Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in microwave for 10 seconds intervals until melted – stirring at each interval.  Remove nut mixture from baking dish and cut into small bars then drizzle with chocolate mixture.

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This one is a keeper.  It’s a good little sweet treat.

Oh, I know, I know….  it’s not lost on me that this chocolate nut bar recipe isn’t going to do me any favors with my goal of losing 5 lbs this month.  Good thing we ate it all up in January. 🙂

Till next time, stay safe out there Y’all!

Lori

Paleo Chocolate Coconut Cookies

I knew my sweet tooth was acting up.  I had been craving a sweet treat and because of that this weeks experimental recipe is a dessert.  I was looking at scone recipes and found several on line and tweaked them a bit to come up with this.

It turned out great and the texture and taste were both awesome.  While these cookies are shaped like a scone I have to say that is the only resemblance they have to a scone.  So if you are looking for that buttery crispness of a scone, this is not the recipe.

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However, these make great cookies, which is exactly what I will shape them into next time.  They reminded me of, a chocolate coconut chewy cookie.  Think almond joy cookie.

They are delicious and I will be making them again because they are a great little sweet treat that’s not too hard on the waistline but the ingredients are a bit expensive, so I’m really glad it tasted good.

What is the Paleo diet?  The paleo diet runs on the same foods our hunter-gather ancestors supposedly ate: fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, and nuts.  Anything that comes in a box, jar, or bag should be avoided on the paleo diet—as should anything that just wasn’t consumed back then. That means no grains, dairy, added salt, or legumes.

The Z Man and I do not follow the Paleo diet, but I would have to say that our style of eating does lean a bit in that direction.

I was looking for a sweet treat that was low in carbohydrates and sugar and I found it….

Paleo Chocolate Coconut Cookies

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup enjoy life chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, chocolate chips, and coconut
  3. In a smaller bowl, mix the egg and pure maple syrup until well blended
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well
  5. Knead the mixture with your hands if necessary to ensure an even distribution of ingredients
  6. Form mixture into a circle approximately 1/2 inch thick
  7. Cut the circle like a pizza into 6 or 8 slices depending on the size you want or using a cookie scoop, form balls and flatten into round cookies
  8. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet
  9. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through

You can very easily change the flavors of these cookies by using your favorite flavors such as dried fruits or a different chocolate.  The good life chocolate chips are paleo and a bit higher in price than regular chocolate chips, but again you could use regular chocolate easily if you don’t “need” to follow a paleo diet.

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Try them, I think you’ll like them.

Till next time,

Lori

Cheddar Broccoli Soup

I was in the mood to make soup, but honestly that isn’t unusual for this time of year.  I had been wanting Panera broccoli cheddar soup since a friend mentioned it in her meal plan on Z Life What’s Cooking Facebook page.

But it wasn’t until I walked down to the garden that I realized it was my fate To Make Soup!

Ok, I honestly was just going to the garden to get some leftover greens for the chickens, and then I saw this.

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Well hello there Mr. Broccoli, lets put you in a pot!  (Yes, I actually still had broccoli in my garden in January, I know crazy right!)

This is perfect for my “new” weekly recipe, following along with The Frugal Girl’s plan to try a new recipe each week.  I’ve never made cheddar broccoli soup so I googled recipes and found several that I could tweak as my own for the ingredients I had on hand.

This is what I did…

Cheddar Broccoli Soup

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 Tbsp of olive oil (or bacon grease 😉 )
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 celery stalks chopped
  • 3 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced

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Saute veggies in butter and oil until soft then add:

  • 1 cup of flour to make a roux

Cook roux for 5 – 10 minutes then whisk in:

  • 4 cups of (warmed) milk
  • 3 quarts of chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • S&P to taste ( 1 tsp. of each)

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Cook and stir mixture about 5 minutes and then add:

  • 8 cups of small (even a little bit chopped) broccoli florets

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Cook and stir about 10 – 15 minutes until broccoli is softened, then add:

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  • 8 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

Stir until cheese is melted.

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This makes a big pot of soup.  My 8 quart stock pot is almost full, shy of about 2 quarts.

But, I’m thinking this soup will freeze nicely and if I’m cooking I’m always making more than one meal.

The recipe could easily be cut in half if needed.

This soup is beyond delicious!  So Good!

Now I wont have to buy Panera soup when the craving hits, I’ll just go to the freezer.

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The last time I bought Panera was around $10 for a small cup of soup and a small salad.  This pot of soup (6 quarts) would cost about $23 (in my area of grocery costs).

That comes to about $1 per serving for a Panera size serving of this soup.   Have you ever got a bowl of soup at Panera (or anywhere besides home) for a $1 or less?

But, if you have broccoli in the garden or freezer and homemade chicken stock on the shelf or freezer, then the (immediate) cost of this soup would be minimal at best.

To go with it I made a fresh loaf of Katy’s, the author of The Non Consumer Advocate’s homemade bread AKA The Tightwad Gazette’s homemade bread recipe.

Just YUM!!!   No, really that’s all I could say, YUM!

Since I’ve never made this soup before, I’m counting this as my new recipe for the week, following along with The Frugal Girl’s plan to try a new recipe every week in 2017.

Go ahead, make some soup and bread…  You’ll love it!

Till next time,

Lori

 

 

Weekend Eats and Hummus Recipe

I hope you had a great weekend.  We got about 6″ of snow this weekend, so we ended up staying in all weekend and watching football and that was just fine.

The babies got to play in the snow with the Z Man and they got to wear their new sweaters.

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As for the chickens, well they are stronger than I am.  Every winter I’m always amazed how well they do in the cold weather.  Of course the Z Man always makes sure they have a cleared spot, fresh water and of course food.  I made a video of the chickens and you can see that on my Facebook page.  I can’t get it to upload on the blog.

I love to make soup and especially in the winter when we get snow.  This weekend was no different.  I made a big ole pot of potato soup, and this time I added a jar of my canned corn and I have to say it was fabulous.  I stole the idea from a friend who was making a potato corn chowder this weekend.  I’m pretty sure corn in the potato soup will be routine in the Z home from now on.  I added a little crumbled feta cheese on top.

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I was craving some fresh veggies this weekend too, and luckily I had some in the fridge that needed to be used.  For some reason I was craving veggies and dip, so I decided to make some hummus.  This is maybe the 3rd  time in my life I’ve made hummus so I’m not really sure where this is coming from….

I googled hummus recipes and found one that I thought I could work with and tweak it the way I wanted it.  The recipe called for tahini and let’s just be honest, I have never bought tahini, and wasn’t even sure what it was till I googled it.  It’s a paste made from ground sesame seeds.  Not usually in my pantry, but at least now I know what it is.

I’m also not a big fan of garbanzo beans (also known as chickpea) but I did put up several jars  of great northern white beans this fall and thought it would be a good substitution for the garbanzo beans.

This is what I did…

In the food processor add…

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  • 1 quart of canned northern great white beans (drained well)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Start blending and begin adding

  • 1/2 cup of good olive oil (blend to the consistency you want)

Chill hummus in fridge for a good hour so flavors can marry, then put into serving bowl and top with…

  • drizzle of olive oil (optional)
  • sprinkle of smoked paprika (optional)

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This is really good hummus.  Give it a try, I think you’ll like it.

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How about my vintage Tupperware veggie tray?  I can’t even remember how long I’ve had it, but it’s perfect and I love it.

How was your weekend?  Did you make a big ole pot of soup too?

Till next time,

Lori