Hot Cocoa and Toast

hot cocoa and toast

Do you have those memories that are just burned into your brain forever?  It was like you saw/heard/felt it yesterday but in reality is has been years?  I have a few of those gems from my childhood, and I pray that I never forget them!  I truly do hold them close to my heart, because at some point in my life the people/places in those memories will be gone.

One memory I was thinking about yesterday involves my Dad. If you have read any of my previous posts about my family, I simply adore my parents. Every morning while growing up, I would walk upstairs and be greeted by my dad sitting at the kitchen counter with a mug of hot cocoa and 2 slices of my Mom’s buttered homemade toast.  I can still hear the “clink, clink, clink” of his spoon on the mug as he would stir the hot cocoa mix into his milk. There is an art of “toast dipping”, just in case you didn’t already know. It’s a technique, really, on what angle to bring the toast into the cocoa, how deep to dip it, and for how long to hold it there before taking a large bite.  My Dad can teach you in less than an hour. Lots of toast and cocoa will be consumed.

Yesterday, I must have been feeling a bit homesick and needed some comfort food so decided to put my own spin on this favorite of my dad’s. I used protein powder in my cocoa and coconut oil on my toast. Just as delicious and tastes even better with a memory attached!

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 TB cocoa powder
few drops of stevia
1-2 slices Ezekiel bread
1/2 – 1 Tbsp coconut oil

Combine all ingredients in a Coco-motion machine and turn on. Toast the bread then top each slice with coconut oil and cinnamon.

1 cup hot cocoa + 1 slice toast + 1/2 TB coconut oil = 292 calories (based on a 100 calorie per serving protein powder).


Breaded Shrimp

Breaded Shrimp

What is it about appetizers or finger food that is so enticing to me?  Anyone else?  I am like a moth to a flame when it comes to bite-sized foods. I would be fine making meals out of appetizers for the rest of my life. So freaking good.  On that note….here is one more appetizer idea for the big game tomorrow, and just like the others, you can use it all year long.  The “breaded” part of this recipe is actually the same recipe I use on my Chicken Nuggets. If you do venture to make these tomorrow, run to the store and grab Grama’s Sweet Chilli Sauce.  This delicious sauce is perfect for breaded shrimp, and I use it on my tilapia during the week.  Have a fun Superbowl Sunday!

1 cup breadcrumbs or oats
1/2 tsp onion salt or powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt or powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
3 egg whites

In a blender or food processor, blend breadcrumbs (or oats) with seasoning and parmesan cheese and place in a gallon sized baggie. Dip shrimp into egg white mix then place in baggie with crumbs. Shake baggie until shrimp are completely coated. Layer shrimp in a single layer on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray (important so they don’t stick). Bake in oven at 400 for 20 minutes, turning halfway through. Serve with a sweet chili sauce or cocktail sauce.

Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

Superbowl Sunday is coming, and I’ve got party food and appetizers on the brain!  My next few posts will be related to this, but I think all of these ideas make great snack ideas, too, so you’ll be able to use these recipes year round. Bonus!

I have to admit that I find great satisfaction in being able to come up with my own version of foods, although sometimes it takes several attempts to get the recipe just right and sometimes I am the only one in my family that actually likes it.  Oh well…more for me!  This homemade version of sun dried tomato hummus is perfect as an appetizer at a party, as an afternoon snack, or as a spread for a delicious wrap or sandwich. It is super easy to throw together and tastes great with veggies or crackers.

Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

1 can garbanzo beans (drained)
1 oz sun dried tomatoes (canned in olive oil)
1/4 cup water
2 TB Tahini
1 TB lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Serve with vegetables and crackers or chips. Yields 1 1/2 cups.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bites

If I was a mom who baked cookies everyday for my children as they skipped home from school, these granola bites would be on my list. But I am not that mom, so I made them for myself. And ate almost all of them for myself. Don’t judge. I consider it research for my followers. They were all delicious, just in case you were wondering.  Simple. Easy. Clean. Yummy. Exactly how I like my recipes.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bites

1 1/2 cup oats
2 TB almond flour
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
2 TB honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
10 drops liquid stevia
1/4 cup mini-chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients with a fork or a mixer. Drop into 12-16 equal portions on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. If you have any left over, they do freeze well.

Homemade Nutella

Homemade Nutella

Twenty years ago I had the opportunity to spend a month in Germany after I graduated from high school. I have very fond memories of that month of visiting castles, touring concentration camps, driving through the beautiful country side, attending a German high school, living with a German family, forming relationships with my travel companions, and indulging in obscene amounts of chocolate, pastries, and Nutella. I can remember sharing jars of Nutella with some of the girls I traveled with. We didn’t need spoons. We just used our fingers (which now I am slightly gagging over). I’m pretty sure I had a year supply of Nutella in that one short month, since I haven’t touched it since. Until…today.

I have shared by nut butter obsession several times on the blog (if this is a news flash, check out my Instagram account @trishallen). I’m obsessed with making my own nut butters and creating fun flavors. I know I am not the first one to play with a homemade Nutella, but today it felt like I discovered America. Once it was perfect, I spread it on a warm slice of toast and time-traveled back to Germany. Then I ate the rest with my fingers.

1 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/4 cup 62% cacao chocolate chunks

In a Blendtec, blend hazelnuts until smooth. While still warm, blend in the cacao chips. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.

Coconut Peanut Butter

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine brought be a teeny tiny jar of coconut peanut butter from Hawaii. The key word here is “tiny”. There were barely 2 Tablespoons in said tiny jar, which were both gone in about 45 seconds, and left me craving more!  I’ve been thinking about making my own version ever since and finally found some time this past weekend to play with the recipe.

This easy version literally melts in your mouth and tastes just like the contents of the tiny jar that I licked clean. Not really. The jar was too small for my tongue to fit.

Coconut Peanut Butter

1 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
2 TB coconut oil

Blend until smooth. Pour into glass jar and place in fridge for several hours to set up. Makes approximately 1/2 cup of peanut butter.

1 Tablespoon of coconut peanut butter = 133 calories

Easy Homemade Granola Bars

I was having a discussion a few weeks ago with a friend about her desire to find a granola bar recipe to replace the store bought granola bars she was currently buying for her kids. The challenge was to find a recipe that was easy and not loaded with excessive amounts of sugar. The challenge was accepted and these beautiful granola bars are the result…

Granola Bars

Soft, chewy, delicious, easy, healthy, nutrient dense. These granola bars aren’t just for the kids! Give them a whirl. I know you’ll love them, too!

1/2 cup sunflower seeds (unsalted)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (unsalted)
1/2 cup chopped almonds
3/4 cup raw oats
1 1/2 cups puffed brown rice
3/4 cup dried cranberries (no sugar added)
1/2 cup natural almond butter
1/2 cup raw honey
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla

Layer sunflower seeds on a cookie sheet and bake in oven on 350 for 7 minutes. Add chopped almonds and pumpkin seeds for another 7 minutes. Remove from oven and mix with cranberries, oats, and puffed brown rice in a large bowl. In a saucepan, heat almond butter, honey, salt, cinnamon and vanilla until melted. Pour over seed mixture and mix well. Press into a 9 x13 (or 8×11.5) inch pan, cover, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Remove and cut into 24 equal squares.

1 bar is approximately 120 calories