Almond-Chocolate-Cherry Bites

A quick snack or a sneakily healthy dessert, these little balls take about 10 minutes to create. The espresso powder adds depth to the sweetness, and the ground almonds create a wonderful texture. This recipe is going into our snack rotation.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 3/4 cup pitted dates
  • 5 oz. dried cherries
  • 3 T. cocoa powder, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. + 1/8 tsp. espresso powder, divided
  • Pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Pulse the almonds in the food processor a few times to get them chopped.
  2. Add dates, cherries, 2 T. cocoa powder, 1/4 tsp. espresso powder, and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, mix 1 T. cocoa powder with 1/8 tsp. espresso powder.
  4. Form the date mixture into 24 balls.
  5. After all balls are formed, dip each one in the cocoa powder mix, then roll between your hands. Keep your hands over the bowl so that excess powder drops back into the bowl. Brush off any excess cocoa powder, then set each ball on a tray or plate.
  6. Store in an airtight container.
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2018 Freezer Meal Challenge

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One of my 2018 goals is to do more batch cooking. Each week, I want to make something that can be tripled. Two batches will go in the freezer.

By February, we can have 2 meals per week that we don’t have to do any work for. This will simplify meal planning each week. By the end of the year, I’ll have created over 100 “fast-food” meals that can be used in a pinch. YES!

Wanna join me? There’s a Facebook group for sharing recipes and grand plans.

A few things we’ll need in order to get started:

  • Freezer containers. I’m having a heckuva time finding glass freezer containers with lids that hold up to lots of use. There’s a snap-lid set that I got from Target a few years back that I really enjoy, but they seem to have been discontinued. We also use big plastic containers and try not to heat them up.
  • Masking tape for labelling the dishes with the contents and date (Because I don’t want to wait until the oyster crackers and sour cream are on the table before I find out that container of chili was actually meat sauce).
  • A list of your freezer meals. This is optional, and I’m fairly sure this will be quickly abandoned around here. But it’s still a good idea to keep track of what is going into your freezer and what you have used.

Here are my big-batch January plans:

  • Week of January 1: Meat sauce. I like to start with this one because a double batch makes six meals. SIX! It’s a great way to jump-start our freezer reserves.
  • Week of January 8th: White chicken chili. We have a ton of leftover chicken in the freezer. This recipe is crazy simple for our first week back to school.
  • Week of January 15th: Pinto beans. So versatile – we use these for rice and beans, burritos, tostadas, and side dishes.
  • Week of January 22nd: Black bean soup. Because it’s everybody’s favorite.
  • Week of January 29th: Peanut soup. Another fave.

I hope you will join me! Check here for updates, recipes, and check-ins.

Sushi Night

We do lots of fun meals that can be customized for each member of the family – pizza and okonomiyaki are two of our faves.

We finally got the kids to try sushi by taking them to a rotary sushi bar, with the cool conveyor belt rolling tons of different types of sushi past our table. I hate to be the parent who uses gimmicks to get their kids to try new things, but honestly, I’m just so happy that we can all go out for sushi. I’m willing to own up to the bribe. They liked it so much that they wanted to have sushi more often, so we started to DIY. Continue reading

No-Knead Bread

 

No-Knead Bread {The Reluctant Hippie}

I have tried a lot of bread recipes. A. LOT. They tend to be a ton of work, and the loaves have always turned out dense and tasteless.

Until this recipe.

You GUYS. I can bake bread. This is dangerous. Everyone loves it far more than we should, especially considering how easy it is to make.  Continue reading

Family Fun Night: Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki {The Reluctant Hippie}

The Hippie Husband has fond memories of cooking okonomiyaki tableside at bars when he interned in Japan. He described it to us as cabbage-bacon-omelet-pancakes. We made okonomiyaki a few times before we had kids, but we hadn’t had it in awhile.

Both kids love cooking and were happy to give this a shot. We set up the griddle, chopped the ingredients, and set out on an adventure. It was dinner and entertainment. We had a blast. Continue reading

Finger Foods for Parties

‘Tis the season for lots of parties. Here is a compilation of my favorite dishes and drinks to share!

Appetizers and Snacks:

Caramelized Onion Dip {The Reluctant Hippie}

 

Caramelized Onion Dip: Skip the packet of onion soup mix and make this real-food version instead.

 

Real Popcorn {The Reluctant Hippie}

 

Popcorn: This can be as healthy or as naughty as you like. A little popcorn salt, or add some butter and parmesan if you want it all to disappear within 10 minutes.

 

Continue reading

Cookie Fair

Time to start the holiday baking!!!

Did those exclamation points sell you on how excited I am about baking? ‘Cause that’s a lie. Not a fan. Not even a little bit.

But I know that other people love it, and I also know that everyone expects sweet treats for parties and such. Here are links to the blog’s best cookie and sweet treat recipes: Continue reading