Snacking Healthy: Salted Chocolate Coconut DeLight

My adventure on Noom and my new healthy lifestyle continues. (if I was saying this out loud I would’ve used air quotes around healthy lifestyle) And as I continue to Noom right along, I’m learning how to better use my very limited calories to the ensure I’m satisfied from not only a hunger standpoint but also a craving side as well.

You see, I have a sweet tooth. Actually, I’m pretty sure all but about five of my teeth may be sweet teeth- two for breads and carbs, one for burgers, one for seafood, and one for prime rib. You get the picture though. I need my sweets.

And I don’t mean fresh fruit….although I do enjoy that.

Because of my sweet teeth, I’m always looking for a good way to satisfy them. And I found one that I’m currently obsessed with. I actually plan the rest of my day’s meals around this sweet snack.

Yes, I really think it’s that good. And I’m going to share it with you because, unlike the two toddlers running around my house, I like to share things. So here it goes.

I call it Salted Chocolate Coconut DeLight and it’s only two ingredients:

  1. Dannon Light and Fit Greek Yogurt- Toasted Coconut Vanilla (only 80 calories)
  2. Endangered Species Chocolate Bark- Salted Hazelnut (about half a serving or two larger size pieces) crumbled

That’s it. You probably thought as much as I praised this sweet treat that it would be something complicated. Instead it only takes a few minutes to put together. And even less to clean up. That’s a winner in my books.

Plus, I buy these Greek yogurt cups at Sam’s in a box with Lemon Merengue and Strawberry Cheesecake, which are also pretty fantastic. The bark came from Walmart and wasn’t cheap but was worth it.

Enjoy and happy snacking!

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You gonna eat yo cornbread??? Best. Cornbread. Ever.

Every time I cook cornbread, Garen and I have a little giggle over the quote “You gonna eat yo cornbead?” from the movie “Life” with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence.

Yes, I am ALWAYS going to eat my cornbread.  Every. Time.

Especially if it’s the sweet kind.  I found this wonderfully tasty and easy recipe a while back from Kimber’s blog, The Pinning Mamma, which is fantastic and definetly worth checking out.  The recipe is suitably called Kimber’s Favorite Cornbread.  If you like a sweeter, more moist cornbread, you will LOVE this recipe.  Did I mention it pretty inexpensive too???  The Jiffy boxes are always cheap.  Plus, who can resist using those cute, classic boxes?!?

I’m one of those people that will often times alter a recipe to make it my own.  This one, though, I didn’t because I feel like it’s perfect just the way it is. I did choose to make muffins vs using a pan/dish.  This saved me a few minutes AND it’s easier for serving I think.  Here you go:

Kimber’s Favorite Cornbread

Ingredients 

  • 2 Boxes Jiffy Cornbread
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Can Creamed Corn
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix all ingredients until combined (I always use my KitchenAid because that’s just what I prefer)
  • Scrape mixture into an 8 x 8 or 2.2qt- 2L (small rectangular Pyrex) glass baking dish that has been sprayed well with cooking spray.  I used my muffin pan.
  • Bake 30-40 minutes or until center is just done.  In my muffin pan, I baked them to 18 minutes but I would say probably 13-20 minutes would be the window, depending on your type of muffin pan.  Mine is a thick non-stick.

There you have it:  Cornbread that will make any dish just a little bit better.  Enjoy!

We ate ours this week with Brunswick Stew- Instant Pot Style and Instant Pot Black Beans.  They didn’t last long.  Yummy!

Super Easy Sangrias for a Crowd

As I said in my last post on Salted Caramel Pretzel Brownies, we had friends over for Nacho Night last night. That definitely called for sangrias.

I looooove sangrias! So I whipped some up. Or maybe I should say: I bought some sangria and fruit and put them together. So here’s my “recipe” since my friends asked for it last night.

Super Easy Sangrias for a Crowd

Ingredients

  • 2 bottles of Sangria (I used the Sam’s Club Members Mark brand and it was pretty tasty)
  • 3 limes, sliced
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 2 oranges, sliced
  • 2 apples, sliced
  • 2 pears, sliced
  • Ginger ale (I used diet)

Instructions

  • Cut up all the fruit and evenly distribute into three pitchers or one large drink dispenser. Pour the sangria over the fruit.
  • Add enough ginger ale to fill the pitchers or if one big container about a half a bottle will do nicely.
  • Mix it up with a spoon that you can slightly muddle the fruit with.
  • Refrigerate all day or overnight, if possible.

There you have it. Now you can make your own Sangrias for a crowd. Make this your own by using whatever fruit you like (or have).

We enjoyed them as our children ran around like wild animals all night.

Sweet Saturday: Salted Carmel Pretzel Brownies

Today I’m gearing up for Nacho Night. More on that in a separate blog. I had some boxes of Hershey’s Triple Chocolate Brownie mix that have been calling to me. Judge me if you must but if you’ve not tried this mix, found at Sam’s Club, you are missing out. They’re super easy and every time I make them for something I get requests for my recipe. So, you’re in luck. Today I’m sharing my guilty, cheating “secret recipe.”

They’re also great for doing different spins on the traditional brownie. That brings me to today’s “experiment. ” Once again I am working to use what I’ve got on hand and the first thing that jumped out at me was a bag of pretzels that needed to be used. My mind instantly flew to creating salted caramel brownies and I remembered that I had a jar of salted caramel from my cousin Kim’s wedding (which was AWESOME and Kim, if you’re reading this, please send me the recipe.)  Best wedding favor EVER!

Salted Caramel Pretzel BrowniesSalted Caramel Wedding Favor

Of course, now I had to break one of my cardinal rules of hosting a dinner party: never try something new on guests. And tonight I broke it twice since I also made Pumpkin Sopapilla Cheesecake.

Ok, ok. Enough back story. On to the my made up, super easy, half-cheating recipe for Salted Caramel Pretzel Brownies.

Ingredients:

  • 2 bags Hershey’s Triple Chocolate Brownie mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2-3 cup pretzels, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel

Instructions:

Follow the recipe on the back of the box of brownies (see below) except at 25 minutes into the baking, stop and top the brownies with the broken of pretzels. Then drizzle with the salted caramel and bake the remaining time or until the brownies are finished. Salted Caramel Pretzel BrowniesSalted Caramel Pretzel BrowniesBest Brownie Mix Ever

The back of the box says it makes 40 brownies but in reality with the large pan I used and the size brownies most people eat it’s more like 25-30. Salted Caramel Pretzel Brownies

You could do the same with another brand of brownies or even from your own scratch recipe if you’re an overachiever like that. I’m sure it would still work. The key is getting the pretzels and caramel on there at the right time so they sink into the mix a bit but not too much.

I whipped up some real whipping cream and, together, they were pretty delicious (sorry to sound braggy.) Ice cream would’ve been equally delightful with them straight out of the oven or even microwaved. I happen to be thinking about how good they’d be paired with a big, cold glass of milk for breakfast!

They do come with a warning: These are really rich but, being the girl that waits all year for Starbucks to start serving their salted caramel mocha again, I loved them. My guests said they were good too but I think when it comes to something like this some people love them and others not-so-much.  If you’re looking for something less chocolately but still really tasty in the “brownie family,” check out these blonde brownies.  They’re always a hit too!

I hope your Saturday was as sweet as ours. More on our nacho night later!

Disclaimer:  I didn’t get paid in any way for this blog post.  The opinions and randomness are completely my own doing.  Feel free to share!

Repurposing Food: Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle 

This is another repurposing recipe. When I say recipe, I really mean more like guidelines for making something you need to get rid of look good. See another post for another similar trifle

I had some leftover pound cake in the freezer and wanted to fix something with it and incorporate cheesecake….because who doesn’t like cheesecake. I also had some frozen strawberries and cool whip in the freezer. And so this trifle was born. 

Ingredients 

  • Pound cake- about 6 cups cut into cubes*
  • Frozen sliced strawberries- 6 cups**
  • Cream cheese- 2 packages, 16 oz
  • Cool whip- oz package
  • Sugar- 2 cups, divided 

Instructions 

  • Mix strawberries with 1 cup of sugar. Microwave if they’re still frozen. 
  • Cream the cream cheese with 1 cup of sugar. 
  • Beat cool whip into cream cheese mixture. 
  • Cut up pound cake. 
  • Layer about half of the pieces of cake into the bottom of the trifle dish. 
  • Spoon about half of the strawberries on top of the cake. 
  • Spoon about half of the cream cheese mixture on top of the strawberries. 
  • Repeat layers. 
  • Optional- sprinkle the top with sprinkles. 

*You could use pretty much any kind of cake that you want. I will sometimes use angel food and it works well too for trifles. 

**You can use fresh strawberries if you have them and want to slice them. I was going for speed and what I had on hand. Also, it’s a really sweet dish, so if you don’t want that either eliminate or reduce the sugar for the strawberries. 

Trifles are always a hit with the kids…anything pudding-like is a crowd pleaser at our house. Add sprinkles and your golden. This was part of our Christmas menu, so red and green sprinkles did the trick. 

Again, the thing I like about trifles is that you can pretty much put anything in there that you want (or need to get rid of). Here’s a few idea variations as well. 

Cooking with Kids: Ham and Cheese Croissants 

Every Saturday that we are home lunch sneaks up on us and I’ve forgotten to plan anything. When this happens, I often think of the options of food we have leftover to be used or eaten. Imagine me standing in front of the fridge looking at my leftovers. 

Yesterday the kids were leaving to go to Jo Daddy’s house for a couple of weeks (they’re lucky enough to have two loving families) and we had almost an entire Sam’s club size package of string cheese that was going to go to waste in their absence. We also had two rolls of croissants and some ham, all of which needed to be used. 

 What did we do? We made Ham and Cheese Croissants! 

The greatest thing about these (besides that they are easy and the kids love them) is that the kids can easily help make them. When they make their own food, they tend to eat better too!

My big helpers sure wanted to eat the ingredients.

  

Roll ’em up!

  

Easy enough for a five year old

 

The whole process only took about 20 minutes, including any rewrapping after my little chefs were finished. We served them with some mixed veggies and everyone was happy. 

Ingredients:

  • Two rolls croissants 
  • 16 slices ham (we made 4 cheese only)
  • 16 string cheese sticks 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray pan  with cooking spray (or if you are lazy like me and don’t want to wash, line pan with foil and then spray the foil). 

Unroll croissants. Layer the ham and then the cheese sticks. Roll them up. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.   Gobble them up! We had the leftovers for breakfast this morning. They are very versatile.   

  There are so many variations you can make of these:

  • Change meat- pulled pork, sausage, etc. Pretty much whatever you’ve got on hand. 
  • Spice it up- add jalapeños, spicy mustard, green chilies. Use your imagination. 
  • Change the cheese- I’m not even going to start on the ways you can mix this up. 
  • Italianize it- add pizza sauce, mozzarella, pepperonis, and whatever else you like on your pizza. 
  • Add some green- cook some broccoli or spinach, combined with your cheese of choice. 

Repurposing Food: Berry Shortcake Parfait

Last night I made strawberry shortcake for dessert.  And when I say I made strawberry shortcake, I mean Sam’s Club bakery made fresh pound cakes, which I sliced and served with fresh sliced strawberries, raspberries, and cool whip. Ok, I know it was lazy but it was still tasty and (best of all) easy. 

I digress. I had leftover berries and pound cake and we had a party to go to. Put it in a parfait dish with some vanilla pudding and you’ve got one of the world’s easiest desserts. I’ve made many other versions of this before. See below. 

 I called it Berry Shortcake Parfait but I just made that up.  It really should be called Dessert Leftover Surprise or Leftover Dessert Dump but neither of those sound appetizing and this really is just as tasty as it is easy. Plus, it’s a great way to use what you’ve got. 

Ingredients (for the version I made today):

  • 1 lb sliced strawberries 
  • 1/2 lb raspberries 
  • 2 small packages instant vanilla pudding – prepared takes 4 cups milk 
  • 1 pound cake cut into bite size pieces
  • Cool whip (I prefer real whipped cream but needed to use the cool whip)

Instructions:

Layer cake, pudding, berries. Repeat. Top with whipped topping. 

 Alternative Options:

  • Chocolate– Use brownies, chocolate pudding, chocolate chips. It will take more brownies and pudding since it is fruitless. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips or chocolate shavings to add some flair. 
  • Lemon– Use lemon or regular pound cake, lemon pie filling, vanilla pudding mix. Top with some lemon shavings if you want to be fancy. 
  • Patriotic– Use above berry recipe but make one layer blueberries. Make a star out of blueberries on the top.