Thursday, February 14, 2013

Skinny Chocolate

Happy Valentine's Day! My man surprised all of us girls this morning with these wonderful gifts.  He sure knows how to treat the ladies right!  If you look closely you will see one of my faves...JOSH GROBAN...AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!  So excited!  Can't wait to listen to his newest CD. 

The girls all got lots of fun stuff including insulated drinking cups, beautiful cards, and chocolate....lots of wonderful, delicious chocolate.  What girl doesn't like chocolate, right?!

Well....this girl's not going to give in this Valentine's Day.  I've been working hard and have lost 15 pounds the past few weeks.  I'm not going to blow it now.  To combat my craving for chocolate and not give into my sweet tooth, I made a big batch of skinny chocolate last night and it's hanging out in the freezer, just waiting for me to indulge. 

What's skinny chocolate?  Let me show you how to make it.  It's super easy and delicious!  I got the recipe from the wonderful book, Trim Healthy Mama.  I'll be posting other recipes from this book as well, because they are just so yummy and are really working to help me lose weight.

Introducing the Stars of the Show:

That's it...only 3 ingredients....

- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
-1/2 cup coconut oil
- 3-4 teaspoons (depending how sweet you like it) Truvia or generic brand stevia sweetener, ground in the coffee grinder which makes it the consistency of powdered sugar.

First, I heated up some water on the stove and put the coconut oil in to liquefy it.  Don't get it too hot.  The outer edges will liquefy fast and just pour that off into your measuring cup.

Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder to a bowl.

Next add 1/2 cup liquefied coconut oil to the cocoa powder.

Add 3-4 tsp. powdered Truvia.  You MUST grind it in a coffee grinder.  If you don't,  your chocolate will become bitter.  Also, I find if I mix the Truvia with the cocoa powder first, it will disperse more evenly.

Mix this yummy goodness all together.  If you'd like, you can add nuts, vanilla, coffee, and/or unsweetened dried coconut for extra flavor.  You can also dip strawberries into the liquid before it hardens for chocolate covered strawberries.  Yum! 

Grab some wax paper and put it on a plate.  Pour this amazing liquid concoction in the middle of the wax paper on the plate.  Now the best part of may proceed to lick the spoon and bowl.  Shhhhhh....I won't tell your kids!

Let it hang out in freezer until it hardens for about 5-10 minutes.

Bring out of the freezer and break into bite size or BIG bite sized pieces.

Now if you'll please excuse me, I must grab my grandma's favorite tea cup and fill it with some Kurdish Mountain Chai tea that I picked up from the Farmers Market this weekend. I may even watch an episode of Downton Abbey. Why? Because I deserve it! Why don't you break out your favorite teacup and enjoy some skinny chocolate as well.  You deserve it too!
So long 15 pounds....may we never meet again!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sproutin' Seeds

I recently wrote an article on the how tos of sprouting on the Today's Woman website.  You can find it here:

I also wanted to post in on the blog because my family and friends have recently been enjoying their hand at sprouting.  My friend Daryn told me today that her daughter even calls these amazing sprouts "candy".  Wow!  You can't beat that...healthy and delicious!

So here ya go.....grab a jar and some seeds and get sprouting!

Well, I did it! After reading about it for years, I finally sprouted seeds/grain for eating. To fulfill my New Year’s Resolution of eating healthier and also to combat those nasty winter blues, I recently tried my hand at sprouting. During the winter months, it’s perfect to add something nutritious, green, fresh, and live to your diet. Why in the world did I put this off so long? It was easy. No, really, I mean it….so EASY. Grab a jar, some seeds, and water and let me teach you how!

Am I crazy? Why in the world would I want to sprout my own seeds?
Nutrients! Lots of great nutrients: antioxidants, protein, chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, just to name a few. Also, when seeds are soaked and sprouted, the phytic acid is neutralized, retaining their natural plant enzymes and making them much more digestible, encouraging growth of good bacteria to help keep the colon clean. As well as retaining the enzymes, seeds also retain the nutrients that would otherwise be destroyed by cooking, creating a super food that is high in protective antioxidants, and not to mention the lower glycemic index is much friendlier to your blood sugar.

How to Sprout Seeds. It’s easy as 1 - 2- 3!

Step 1: Choose which seeds you will use for sprouting. There are so many to choose from: wheat berries, mung beans, radish, alfalfa, lentil, and broccoli, just to name a few. I chose wheat berries since it's what I had on hand. (I purchase my seeds in bulk from a wonderful, local business; Simple Traditions Bulk Food and Mercantile

Step 2: Fill a jar @ 1/3 or 1/2 full of seeds. Cover seeds or grain with water and let soak overnight. I used wheat berries for this sprouting project.

In the morning, drain seeds through a fine sieve. If you are like me and don’t have a fine sieve or are completely unaware of what in the world a sieve is, you can use a piece of CLEAN nylon stocking or a NEW nylon footie. The elastic holds it nicely in place on the jar.

Step 3: Place the jar of drained seeds in a warm dark place. The best temperature to sprout most seeds is between 70 and 75 degrees. Place jar on a saucer or plate underneath to catch any drips. Rinse the seeds twice a day in the morning and evening, making sure to drain off all excess water.

Step 4: On the 3rd or 4th day, you can move the jar into the sunlight when sprouts appear to encourage the formation of green sprouts. Continue to rinse and drain them at least twice a day. Remove the finished sprouts from the jar and rinse away hulls and drain in a colander. Store in the refrigerator and use up within 3-4 days.

We have been enjoying them on salads, omelets, and sandwiches. My kids favorite way to eat them is plain, right out of the jar. They just can't seem to get enough of them these days, which makes this mama oh so happy!

Sprouting….a healthy, easy, and delicious way to grow something else besides mold spores in your kitchen!

~The Manna Mama