Healthy Chocolate Smoothie

I love dessert, and I love feeding people dessert almost as much (or maybe even more) than I like eating it myself.  But some days,  I have a major guilt trip.  Today is one of those days.  I know sugar is terrible for your health.  I shouldn’t eat so much of it, and sometimes I feel guilty that I feed my loved ones baked goods so often.

I generally think I’m a pretty health-conscious person,  but then I turn around and make things like this:

bananabundtcaketextjpg

I know dessert makes me happy, but I also know I shouldn’t be eating it all the time so I give it away.  So pretty much I’m a jerk, a jerk that pawns off things that are too unhealthy for her to eat onto other people.  And when jerks feel guilty, they turn to fruits and vegetables.

I swear this has nothing to do with the fact that I’m about 293048292 years late to the party and finally watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and this article I read in National Geographic about Sugar.  That documentary didn’t convince me that I need to start juicing, but it did remind me that fruits and vegetables are always a good idea. The sugar article just reinforced my original idea that I need to eat less sugar. I’m not a nutritionist, but it seems like juices are lacking fiber and all the healthy things you get from the skins of fruits and vegetables. No? So instead of juice, I’m sticking to smoothies and less sugar.

healthychocolatesmoothie2

I’ve been having green smoothies for years.  My normal go-to combination was strawberry, banana, spinach.  But I decided to try a new combo to help me get past my enormous cravings for big handfuls of chocolate chips in the evenings.  It’s a bad habit.  So let’s replace it with something better:

healthychocolatesmoothie1

Healthy Chocolate-y Smoothie

1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen mango chunks (I eye ball it)
1-2 cup frozen spinach (I really just grab a huge handful and shove it in the blender)
1 date, pitted
1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (or more if you want it more chocolate-y)
1 cup ice
1/2-1 cup water or almond milk (this might vary)

Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.  In my Vitamix, I don’t need that much water and I can get it to be pretty thick.

inblender

I actually eat it with a spoon!  Note: This makes one large smoothie for one person.

The key here is really the cocoa powder.

cocoapowder

You get the chocolate-y flavor without all the sugar.  The sweetness here comes from fruit, particularly the date.

It’s not like eating a Wendy’s frosty. Let’s be clear.  It’s not.  But it’s pretty darn tasty and it definitely helps me get my chocolate fix in a much healthier way.

So what do you think?  Is it bad to feed your friends and family unhealthy foods?  Should I (or you) feel guilty about it?

Advertisements

Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodle Bars

I somehow had the bright idea of joining the company softball team. If you knew me in real life, you’d be surprised that I would make such a choice. I’m not really a “team sports” kind of girl.  Not because I don’t like exercise.  No no.  I love Crossfit.  Running is fun.  Spinning is amazing.

At first you might think, oh so you’re a solo rider.  Well not really.  What softball has that running, Crossfit and spinning don’t is that softball involves a hard object flying at your face.  I’m not good at that.  You see, I’m what we like to call “accident-prone.”

The truth is, if there’s an opportunity to get hurt, chances are I will.   I’m set to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in November and my sister is already researching altitude sickeness and ways to prevent it.  She’s not even going on the trip with me and she knows it’ll be an issue for me.

In fact, the last time I tried to play a team sport was a summer softball league the summer before 9th grade.  I broke my finger mid way through the summer.  Lesson learned.

But now I’m older, and conquering fears and trying new (ish) things is totally my thing.  So why not.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, let’s talk about these guys.

chocolatechipsnickerdoodlebars2

I know you’re drooling because any mention of the word “snickerdoodle” makes babies smile and men squeal in joy.

Ok I can’t take credit for these.  I got this recipe from my favorite cookie cookbook given to me by my friend Rhoda (who also published an awesome cookbook!).

I want everyone to buy this book because I think it’s so awesome.  What I didn’t think was awesome was the name of the recipe.  Buttermilk Cinnamon Bars.  Boring.  So since I made some changes (like adding chocolate chips, among a few other changes, I decided to rename these to more accurately describe the taste.

Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodle Bars

Adapted from Blue Ribbon Cookies

2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 350F.   In a bowl, combine sugar, flour and butter.  Using your fingers, combine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.   Take two cups of that mixture and combine it with coconut and chocolate chips.

Press into a 9×13 baking dish lined with parchment paper.   With the remaining sugar/flour/butter mixture, add egg, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, buttermilk and vanilla.  Blend together.  Pour mixture oven base and bake for about 45 minutes, or until fully cooked in the center.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.  (I let it sit out overnight)  Once cooled, remove bars from pan by lifting parchment paper.  Cut bars into about 40 squares (or fewer large pieces…).

chocolatechipsnickerdoodlebars1

I promise these will be a hit.  They’re like snickerdoodles and chocolate chip coconut cookies on a date, because that makes sense.

Either way, enjoy them, pin them and wish me luck on this softball endeavor.

How are you at team sports?  Play any?  Tell me!

P.S. Have you entered the Peanut Butter & Co Giveaway?  You can earn entries daily!  Get to it here: http://bit.ly/147k7k8

Dinner at Mesa

The folks at Mesa invited Allison from Sweet Potato Bites to try a few new things on their menu. She was super nice and awesome and invited me to be her +1.

IMG_4534

I know I usually do recipes and such on this blog, but I have to tell you guys about it because it was pretty fun and clearly I love food.IMG_4533

Mesa is a Bar/Lounge/Restaurant located in Costa Mesa.  I’ve seen it a bunch of times, because it’s right next to the CAMP but never went because honestly it just seemed a little too swanky for me.  But after this visit, that myth was sort of dispelled.

IMG_4535

This place is definitely the kind of place I want to go for an awesome drink, but the food was also awesome.  We got there at 7 (which is when they open), and it was still light out.  The place has an awesome retractable roof so you feel like you’re outside without having to deal with heat or wind.  FOODIE BONUS: natural light is great for food photography.

Upon arriving we ordered some drinks.  Allison and I both got a glass of wine (after all it was a work night, couldn’t go too crazy), but they had an awesome array of cocktails.  I would love to go back someday for an afternoon Negroni.

The staff at Mesa was super nice.  They told us about the hand-drawn “secret menu” that included special cocktails and small plates.

IMG_4536_1

 

We ended up ordering a bunch of things to share.  All in all, it was quite a spread for two ladies…

IMG_4544_1(note the food blogger in action)

We tried the sweet potato fries

IMG_4547_1

Because Allison could never pass those up.  Seriously guys, they were amazing.  Perfectly crispy and I loved the spicy dipping sauce.  Normally, I prefer regular fries to sweet potato fries, but I would definitely get those again.

Smoked Chorizo Meatballs from the secret menu.

IMG_4540_1

Delicious.  Loved the little spicy kick to them.  And the grilled bread they came with… Delicious and eaten entirely by me since Allison is avoiding gluten right now.

Free-Range Chicken Breast with potatoes, mushrooms and a delicious cream sauce

IMG_4542_1

This was seriously tasty.  I won’t lie.  The chicken was chicken; I really only wanted to eat the potatoes and mushrooms, because they were awesome.  I would order that again just for the potatoes and mushrooms

Roasted Beet Salad

IMG_4546_1

I’m always a fan of anything with beets and goat cheese.  This salad had feta and roasted hazelnuts.  Super tasty and light.

For dessert, because we know I can never pass up dessert… we got the ice cream trio.

IMG_4548_1

Vanilla Maple Ice Cream with bacon, Blackberry Sage and Espresso Chipotle Stout.  These were all awesomely intense flavors.  Allison and I both agreed the maple bacon was the best.  It’s definitely on my list of things to recreate.

They also made us a special after dinner cocktail.  It was super intense but delicious.  I probably could have drank the whole thing but decided to keep it classy…

IMG_4551_1

I wish I could remember all the things in there but it was amazingly herby and sweet (maybe a little too sweet).

Overall, it was a fantastic meal.  I wish this place was open before 7pm, because it would seriously be the perfect place for weekend (4pm?) afternoon cocktails.

Thanks so much to Allison for letting me tag along with you and thanks to Mesa for taking care of us.

Ok so tell me.  What was the last great meal you had out?