Healthy Chocolate Mousse

Sounds like an oxymoron, but I promise you, it’s creamy, delicious and yes… even healthy! And, just in time for the weekend.  Happy Friday everyone!

The ingredients also sounds a little, um, abnormal for dessert, and trust me when I tell you that I had the same reaction to the odd list.  But once I got over the foods not usually seen in desserts and just tried it, I really enjoyed it and have made it a few times now. The secret ingredient is… ready? Avocado!  It sounds odd and the combination of the green with the chocolate-brown sounds a bit strange, but mark my words, if you like chocolate mousse, you will LOVE this recipe!

The avocado provides good fat and sets up a creamy consistency.  The mild flavor of the avocado is masked by the other ingredients.  All you will taste is the delicious chocolate!

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 3 tablespoons agave or honey
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used raw cacao powder)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Small pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons almond, soy or regular milk
  • 1 cup washed raspberries or strawberries (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of almond or peanut butter (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cut the avocados in half and remove the pit.  Scoop out the green flesh and put into a blender or food processor.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients (other than the berries) and combine. I recommend adding a tablespoon of sweetener at a time, as you can always add more but can’t take it out if it’s too sweet for your liking.
  3. Scoop into a bowl and chill until you are ready to serve. You can eat it immediately (or taste a spoonful or two) but it thickens as it sits in the refrigerator, which gives it a thick, mousse-like texture.
  4. Top with berries before eating or drudge strawberries through the mousse and enjoy!

mousse

A Cup of Chocolate Cake

Sometimes a girl (or guy) just needs a little chocolate.

As one who loves to bake, I enjoy being in the kitchen and whipping up something sweet, sometimes spending hours baking, cooking, creating.  But, there are many who don’t enjoy the process but love the end result.  If that is you, this is a recipe right up your alley!

From start to finish, it takes 5 minutes.  That’s it.  You need a coffee mug, ingredients, a microwave and you’re set… ready to bake.  Does it get easier?

5-minute Mug Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 3 T milk
  • 3 T neutral oil (I used vegetable)
  • 3 T flour
  • 4 T sugar (I used Sugar in the Raw)
  • 2 T cocoa powder
  • 3 T semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Add wet ingredients, including the egg, to the mug and mix well.  Add the dry ingredients and mix.  Add chocolate chips and the vanilla extract.  Mix.

Put the mug into your microwave and cook for 2-minutes.  The cake will rise up over the top of the mug, but won’t spill over.  Just in case, I put the mug on a small plate before putting into the microwave.

Remove the mug from the microwave and let it cool for a few minutes before turning it out onto a plate.  You could also eat right from the mug, but let it cool down a bit, as the chocolate chips are ooey gooey and still hot.

The recipe says it’s meant for one, but even with my sweet tooth, I couldn’t finish it all myself — It’s that rich and delectable.  It would also be perfect as the bottom layer of an ice cream sundae.

*Recipe adapted from Lucky Peach

Friendship = Peanut Butter + Chocolate

A dear friend of mine was celebrating a mile stone in her life, and I wanted to do something special for her.  I had in my mind earlier in the week that I wanted to try out a recipe that I had not yet made, so the timing worked out well.  But, for me, what worked out the best was the reason.

The recipe was for my grandmother’s Buckeyes, which are peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate, otherwise known as a homemade Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  I was thrilled when I was recently given this recipe, as I felt it was a memory of mine, of my grandmother, that I could recreate and share. Like many that pass on, I miss my grandmother everyday.  When I was struggling during the marathon portion of the Ironman, I looked up to the sky and started talking to her.  There are things that I will never be able to say to her, face-to-face.  She will never meet my children, nor will she see me walk down the aisle.  I will never be able to look her in the eyes again, to tell her how much I love her and I will never again hear those word from her.  I’ll never hear her tell me that she’s proud of me for the choices that I’ve made in my life, nor will I hear anymore of her hilarious jokes.  She would tell us “at her age, she has earned the right to say whatever I want!” But, I can tell the people that are in my life now just how much they mean to me.  I can tell my friends that I’m proud of them and I can show up to celebrate.  I can give my friend a hug when she’s accomplished great things in her life. And I can show up with a box of homemade Buckeyes, recipe by Gran, made with love and delivered with a pretty bow on top.

Ingredients:

4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted

2 sticks of butter

1 1/4 cup of peanut butter (I used the natural peanut butter, which provided the recipe with a bit more oil)

Steps:

1) Cream the peanut butter and butter in a mixer

2) Add the sifted powdered sugar a little bit at a time.  Do not pour all of the sugar in at once.  If you see the mixture getting dry, you have added enough and may not require all 4 cups.

3) Once the ingredients have formed a mousse like texture, place in the freezer for an hour.

4) After removing the bowl from the freezer, take a spoonful of the mixture and roll it between your hands to make a small ball.  The mixture will be frozen, but the heat from your hands will soften the mixture enough to form a ball.

5) Put the Peanut Butter balls back into the freezer as you temper chocolate over the stove. You can use a double boiler or simply place a pot with 1-2 inches of water on the stove, and put a bowl on top of the pot.  Make sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.

6) Stir the chocolate constantly, until it melts, adding 1-2 tablespoons of milk or cream.

7) Once the chocolate has melted, use a toothpick to pick up the peanut butter ball and dip it into the chocolate.  You can also use a spoon to spoon chocolate onto the top, to ensure that the whole piece is covered.  Another option is to not cover the top with chocolate, to let the peanut butter show through.

8 ) Once they have all been covered in chocolate, place them back into the freezer to harden.

9) ENJOY!

Tip:

If the peanut butter balls become soft as you’re dipping them, put them back into the freezer for 10 minutes. I would suggest dipping one plateful at a time, which another plate of balls remain in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.

Thanksgiving Dessert

For Thanksgiving, my family is getting together to celebrate. I look forward to this time of year, as it is the one time that we are all together and there’s usually LOTS of delicious food! This year, I am giving a new recipe a try- a Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle, courtesy of Paula Deen, from the Food Network. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients
2 (14-ounce) packages gingerbread mix
1 (5.1-ounce) box cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
1 (30-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping
1/2 cup gingersnaps, optional

Directions
Bake the gingerbread according to the package directions; cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool. Stir the pumpkin pie filling, sugar, and cardamom into the pudding. Crumble 1 batch of gingerbread into the bottom of a large, pretty bowl. Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the gingerbread, then add a layer of whipped topping. Repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding, and whipped topping. Sprinkle of the top with crushed gingersnaps, if desired. Refrigerate overnight. Trifle can be layered in a punch bowl.

I’m planning to make the dish today and let it set in the refrigerator overnight, in a pretty, trifle bowl. What are you making this Thanksgiving? Send me your favorite holiday recipe and enjoy the day!