Chocolate Covered Strawberries with Cashew Icing

Chocolate Covered Strawberries with Cashew Icing

Who doesn’t love chocolate?  I love chocolate, my husband loves chocolate and from the way our son inhaled his first birthday cake, he too loves chocolate.  Fruit dipped in chocolate equals heaven, in my opinion.  Especially chocolate covered strawberries.  I saw the idea a few months back and thought, what a perfect Super Bowl dessert.  How cute are these little footballs?

Please note: I am not a pastry chef, so these are not as perfect as I’d like them to be.  Though, I must say, not too shabby.

The Ingredients:

1 pack of organic strawberries
1 c baking chocolate
1/4 c almond milk

The Icing:

1/2 c cashews
5 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/4 c warm water
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

If you have a double boiler, it would come in handy here.  I don’t.  So this is how I did it.  Pour about an inch of water into a medium sauce pan and place a glass bowl inside.  Ideally, you’d like the glass bowl to fit perfectly in the pan to avoid splash back from the boiling water.  Then, place chocolate in glass bowl and start melting over medium-low heat.  Once chocolate is almost completely melted, add almond milk.  I found this made it a bit more creamy.

Once chocolate is melted, dip strawberries in chocolate on at a time.  Place dipped strawberry on wax paper and let cool.

The Icing:  

Place all ingredients in high-speed blender.  Blend until creamy and smooth.  Transfer to bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using.  I typically make the icing the night before I plan to use it.  When icing is ready and if you do not have a pastry bag.  Grab a ziplock bag, spoon icing into the corner of the bag, snip the tiniest corner off the bag and squeeze the bag to make your design.

Enjoy!

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Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms

Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms

When talking about meals, the word “stuffed” can grab anyone’s attention.  Whether it’s stuffed veggies or stuffed shells, that word alone will make your mouth water.  I love stuffed veggies of any kind and they are always welcome at my table.

Stuffed mushrooms, however, can sometimes tend to be over-cooked, mushy and greasy.  My husband has always been really hesitant to try stuffed mushrooms because of this.  Until now.  These stuffed mushrooms are light, fluffy and perfect for any occasion.

The Ingredients:

1 package button mushrooms (stems removed and diced)
1 cup quinoa, cooked
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.

In a medium skillet, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent.  Next, add the carrots and celery.  Cook until tender.  Lastly, add the mushroom stems.  Once everything is cooked through place in a bowl with the cooked quinoa.  Mix well.

Brush each mushroom cap with olive oil and place on cookie sheet.  Spoon the filling into each cap.  Over-stuffing is okay.  I prefer to stuff the mushrooms after they are placed on the cookie sheet, it’s less messy this way.

Place in oven and cook for about 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Cauliflower Buffalo Bites

Cauliflower Buffalo Bites

Anyone who has ever attended a Super Bowl Party knows, Buffalo Wings are the one dish you can always expect to see.  Most football fans would agree, watching a football game just isn’t the same without wings.   So, to stick with this tradition, I replaced just a few ingredients.  These little Cauliflower Buffalo Bites are healthy, gluten-free and incredibly easy to make.

These little bites are so delicious, they may not make it onto a serving dish.  This was the case at my house.  The first time I made them, my husband and I devoured them.  Yum!

This recipe will serve 4.  When serving this at a party you will want to at least double recipe.

The Ingredients:

2 heads of cauliflower, chopped into bite size florets
2 tsp coconut oil (melted)
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 c Hot Sauce
*For more spice add 1 – 2 tsp chili powder (optional)

Preheat oven at 425 degrees.

Whisk together all ingredients except the cauliflower.  Then fold in cauliflower, coating it evenly. Transfer to a lightly greased (with coconut oil) baking dish.  Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.  Be sure to keep an eye on these little guys.  You don’t want them to burn.

Serve with fresh celery and carrot sticks.  Oh but wait, what about the Ranch dipping sauce?  To be honest, these little bites are so flavorful you won’t even miss the dip.  Trust me.

Enjoy!

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Super Bowl – Chunky Salsa

Chunky Salsa

There is just something so exciting about the Super Bowl.  Maybe it’s the first big party after the holiday craze, the excitement of the game, the extremely loud football fans, the commercials or simply the food and friends.  I particularly love the rowdiness of the party.  For my husband, growing up, the Super Bowl was always “The Party of the Year.”  His Mom and Dad would throw (and still do) a party to remember, or not, depending on how tipsy you’d get.  So every year, to honor his childhood tradition, I do my best to throw a great party.  Our parties may never compare to my in-laws but we can always try, right?  This year however, will be less rowdy being that we’ll have a little guy sleeping.  No matter, I still plan on cooking some delicious snack foods and watching the game.  The Super Bowl is right around the corner so start planning and have fun.  Stay tuned for more Super Bowl recipes.  Go Broncos!

The Ingredients:

4 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 c onion, diced
1/2 c cilantro, chopped (packed)
1 avocado, diced
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tbsp vinegar (red or white)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and serve.

See…super easy.  Enjoy!

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It all begins in the Kitchen

Hello Everyone!  Welcome to The Blissful Bean!

It all begins in the Kitchen…

How many of us have fond memories of our childhood kitchens?  My kitchen, growing up, was the place were everything happened. Long talks, laughter, tears, epiphanies, hard decisions, family dinners and of course a ton of cooking.  The kitchen is where it all starts.  No matter the occasion, it’s the room where everyone migrates. Whether it is to hang out with the cook, help do the dishes, grab a drink or sneak a bite of warm food before it’s served.  The fact is, everyone goes there and that is when memories are created.  It’s the one room in your house, that most likely, knows you better than you know yourself.  In my opinion, it’s the best room.  So please join me in my kitchen.  I hope to share with you my passion of food, cooking, family, photography and nutrition.

To learn more about this blog and me check out my “About” page.

In the meantime…let’s get to the food.

Quinoa Avocado Chickpea Salad

Quinoa Avocado Chickpea Salad

This salad is packed with protein and extremely easy to put together.  Quinoa is one of those magical foods.  It is actually a seed that best disguises itself as a grain.  Those of us who have eliminated animal proteins from our diets know how difficult it can be to get enough complete proteins in our bodies.  Complete proteins are only found in animal products.  Even though seeds, nuts and beans on their own are proteins they are not complete.  However, when they are properly paired with other plant-based proteins they become complete proteins.  In this Quinoa Salad, pairing quinoa (seed) with chickpeas (bean) creates a complete protein.  Amazing, right?!  This is a dish I make fairly often.  Not only is it protein-dense, it’s also a great Grab-n-Go meal.  Just throw it in a mason jar and go.  It serves about 6 and you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

The Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups spinach, chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup onion, diced
1-2 garlic cloves, diced
2 cups chickpeas (approx. 1 can)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 avocados, diced

The Dressing:
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp (or more) cumin

Cook quinoa according to package, transfer to bowl and let cool.  Meanwhile, get chopping! Once quinoa is cool, add spinach, cilantro, onions, garlic and avocado to bowl. Mix well.

In separate bowl, whisk together lemon juice, mustard, olive oil and cumin.  Pour over salad and serve.  Remember, this salad can be stored in the refrigerator up to 5 days.

Enjoy!

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