Cherry Chocolate Crisps

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Cherry Chocolate Crisps

*Makes about 26

10 oz Bag of Enjoy Life Miniature Chocolate Chips (dairy free)

3/4 Cup of Tart Dried Cherries

1 Cup of Gluten Free Rice Chex Cereal

Mini Candy Cups

Melt the chocolate and stir in the dried cherries. Fold in the cereal and drop by teaspoon into miniature paper cups.  Allow to set. Store at room temperature. 

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Not So Simple Hot Chocolate Spoons

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Actually, they are very simple.

Just don’t do what I did and you’ll be fine.

It seems that my knee injury has made its way up to my brain because the whole last week has been a comedy of errors.

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First there were paint issues on another Christmas project…which I still have to repair. Then label issues. A list of forgotten ingredients for another project and trips to the store. Not one but two slips down the stairs…call me grace.  My knee is fine thank goodness.

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As if that wasn’t enough, I lost the ingredients list to one of the items I made and for the life of me, I cannot remember what I put in it. Wouldn’t you know it that the day I figured out the list had been tossed, the garbage truck was already driving out of the neighborhood.

The first time I tried to make the spoons, the chocolate set up too quickly because I set it outside in 20 degree weather and I couldn’t get the spoons into it…

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Then, trying to remedy the frozen bricks of chocolate,  I reheated it to start over and I burned it

…but wait, there’s more.

I was then out of chocolate and had to go back to the store, just to burn another batch of chocolate because I sat down and was distracted trying to figure out what I put in that gift that has the missing ingredients list.

I kept an eagle eye on that third batch of chocolate believe me…but…I slit the plastic wrap and slid the spoons in, when in reality to avoid a plastic wrap nightmare removal after full set up, I probably should have removed the plastic wrap prior to putting the spoons in the chocolate.

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Lastly, as I was wrapping the cute mugs I flipped them over to read on the bottom “Not Microwave Safe”. Now I’ll have to warn the recipients, thereby shattering the illusion that I know what the hell I’m doing.

At this point, I was beginning to wonder if I should just stop. Just throw caution to the wind, open a bottle of wine, and crawl into the bathtub.

Instead, I gave myself a pep talk. “You can do this. A first grader can make this project for gawd’s sake. Get a hold of yourself woman!”

I’m not one to let a challenge defeat me.

Instead, I self medicated with a lot of chocolate and marshmallows.

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Luckily for you, if you have your head on straight, this is an extremely simple and fun  project and works really great as cute little gifts.

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Now all my projects are finished (hallelujah and amen) and I’ll be sharing each one with you over the next several days.

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Note to self for next year:

Go to Fiji instead.

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Simple Hot Chocolate Spoons

*The amounts are based on enough for 4 Mugs*

12 oz or so of Your Favorite Chocolate

Cube Candy Trays or Ice Cube Trays (ice-cube trays will require more chocolate)

4 Mugs

16 Wooden Spoons (I found mind at a craft store)

Mini Marshmallows

12 Clear (or decorated, your choice) Long Cellophane bags, you will cut them to size

Different Types Of Ribbon For Decorating

2 Types of Card Stock, Photo Sticky Mounting Squares, and a Hole Punch For Hot Chocolate Directions (below)

Craft Scissors or a Paper Cutter

For the spoons:

*Don’t take your eyes off the chocolate!

Melt the chocolate until smooth and spoon carefully into the trays. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the trays and place them in a cool place for 5 minutes. Set a timer! Check them after 5 minutes, if they are still really soft to the touch, then allow them to set for another 5 minutes. You want the spoon to be able to slide into the chocolate but also have the chocolate set up enough that the spoon will stand on its own. Remove the plastic wrap, slide a spoon into the middle of each one and return to a cold place to set completely.

Fill four bags with a handful of marshmallows. Tie off with ribbon and cut the bag to size leaving a bit of fluff at the top so it looks nice. Cut four more bags using one of the spoons as a measurement. You want the handles to stick out, but still have plenty of plastic to tie a ribbon around. Place 4 Chocolate spoons in a bag, tie with a ribbon, and repeat the process for the spoons and the marshmallows for all four mugs.

The chocolate spoons won’t fit in the mug unless you buy very over sized mugs. Place the mugs in the cellophane bags, place the marshmallows in the mugs, and tie the bags around the mugs closed with a ribbon. My mugs were over sized but not huge and the chocolate was too large to fit inside the mug even without the marshmallows so I will simply package them next to the mug in a nice gift bag or box.

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For the tags I just printed out instructions on shimmery white card stock, cut them into squares, and placed them on a red sheet of card stock. Punch a hole and thread a ribbon and tie it to the cup.

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Grain Free & Dairy Free Chocolate Pancakes

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It is possible to indulge in your favorite things even when you are focusing on being grain and dairy free. It’s not necessary for you to suffer and think that you’ll never be able to eat anything fabulous and naughty ever again.

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I mean seriously. Does this look like I suffered at breakfast this morning?

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I certainly did not and you don’t have to either. These are easy to make and incredibly delicious. The whole family will love them and absolutely no one will even notice that they are free of grains and dairy and made with coconut sugar.

You can top them with anything you like. I’m a dairy free butter & pure maple syrup kind of girl, but powdered sugar and chocolate chips, and even peanut butter go quite well.

Bacon provides the perfect salty side.

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Grain Free & Dairy Free Chocolate Pancakes

*Makes 12 medium to large pancakes

2 Organic Eggs, Separated

3 1/2 Cups of Organic Full Fat Coconut Milk (or milk of choice)

1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Cup of Organic Buckwheat Groat Flour (Ground Groats)

1/2 Cup of Organic Coconut Flour

1/2 Cup of Organic Arrowroot Flour

3/4 Cup of Organic Cocoa Powder

1 teaspoon of Double Acting Baking Powder

1 teaspoon of Baking Soda

1 teaspoon of Organic Coconut Crystals

1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt

Separate the eggs and beat egg whites to stiff peak. Set aside. Whisk the buckwheat, coconut flour, arrowroot, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda into a medium sized bowl. Add the milk, egg yolks, and vanilla. Whisk to combine. Carefully fold in egg whites.

Heat a griddle on medium and oil. I used bacon fat but you can use avocado oil or coconut oil also. Spoon batter onto hot griddle and cook for 4 minutes or until bubbly on top. Flip and cook for about 3 minutes.

Powerhouse Candybars

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These candy bars are packed with protein and all kinds of ingredients that are not only delicious, but extremely good for you.

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They’re simple to make. You know how I am about fussy recipes. I avoid them if I can.

Just make sure you don’t spill your chocolate all over after you’ve weighed it when you’re opening the honey like I did…that added a little extra work for me.

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Chocolate on the floor.

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Don’t be put off by the mixture of ingredients.

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They fit together like best friends.

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Just a small piece will satisfy that sweet craving that hits in mid afternoon. That time of day when you’re looking for that little something to hold you over until dinner.

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A couple spoonfuls before they’re set up won’t hurt you either.

You know, just to taste and make sure they’re good before they go into the fridge…

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When they come out of the fridge they’ll be solid, but not so hard that you can’t very easily enjoy them cold.

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Even my non-nut-loving husband enjoyed them.

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Powerhouse Candy Bars

1 Cup of Organic Cashew Butter

1/3 Cup of Raw Organic Honey

1/4 Cup of Organic Coconut Oil

6 Ounces of 70% Dark Belgian Chocolate, chopped

2 Cups of Organic Unsweetened Coconut Flakes

2 Tablespoons of Organic Dried Cranberries

2 Tablespoons of Organic Dried Tart Cherries

1/4 Cup of Dry Roasted Salted Almonds

2 Tablespoons of Organic Raw Pumpkin Seeds

2 Tablespoons of Organic Chia Seeds

1/2 heaping teaspoon of Organic Turmeric

1 teaspoon of Organic Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of Organic Ground Ginger

In a medium saucepan melt the cashew butter, raw honey, and coconut oil. Do not boil. Turn off the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Stir until completely melted. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until fully incorporated. Spoon into the prepared dish, smooth, and refrigerate until partially set, 1-2 hours. Remove from fridge and score into about 1 1/2 to 2 inch squares. Return to the fridge to set completely (4 hours or overnight). Run knife along sides of pan and lift chocolate bars out of pan with parchment paper. Using a sharp butcher knife or large knife, cut into bars. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.

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Stack between a layer of parchment and store in the fridge.

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Simple Sea Salt S’Mores

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These delightful little cookies are incredibly easy and have all the factors necessary for the perfect treat.

Sweet, salty, chocolately, crispy, and gooey. 

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They are best eaten on day 2 when all the flavors and textures have had a chance to settle down and get to know each other.

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Simple Sea Salt S’Mores

12 Ounces of Dairy Free Semi-Sweet Chocolate

1 Jar of Marshmallow Fluff (or you can make your own)

1 Box of Schar Gluten Free Honeygraham Crackers

Sea Salt

Roughly chop the chocolate and place in a double boiler, or use a pan and a bowl like I did. Heat the water on medium as to not melt the chocolate too quickly, risking overcooking.

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Remove all of the graham crackers from the box. With a serrated knife, very carefully and slowly, saw your way through each cracker.

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 Carefully spread a dollop of marshmallow fluff on each one and top with another cracker. I was a little too hasty with the first couple and snapped them when I spread the marshmallow. Then they accidentally fell into the melted chocolate and into my mouth.

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Oil a wire cooling rack and place a piece of parchment or wax paper underneath. Place each cookie on the rack and with a spoon, spread chocolate over the tops of each one and sprinkle with sea salt.

This part will need to go relatively quickly because the hot chocolate will make the lids want to slide off of the marshmallow fluff. So spread the chocolate and then set the cookie rack somewhere cold where the chocolate can set up. Check them after about 5 minutes and do any necessary lid adjusting. I set mine outside on our deck, but you could put them in the fridge or freezer as well.

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Once set, they will keep in a covered container on the counter for several days. 

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Dark Chocolate Cherry Surprise

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This candy is incredibly easy and fast to make and has a big payoff. Cherries and chocolate are a match made in Heaven and with the addition of salted pretzels and a few soft marshmallows…very tasty!

I would say from start to finish, making this candy will take you about 25 minutes, if that. Perfect for a dinner party or for decadent little holiday gifts to give to your favorite neighbors.

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I was running out of daylight for pictures…so the chocolate is still warm here. They will set up once they cool. The coconut oil will keep them from getting too hard.

~ Dark Chocolate Cherry Surprise ~

1 1/2 Cups of 70% Dark Belgian Chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

1/2 Cup of Dried Cherries, chopped

1/2 Cup of Salted Gluten Free Pretzels, broken up into small pieces

1 Cup of Miniature Marshmallows

A Tiny Amount of Sea Salt

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil slowly in a double boiler or microwave. Add the cherries, pretzels, and marshmallows and stir. Spoon into miniature foil lined candy papers. Sprinkle the tiniest amount of sea salt on top of each one. Allow to set. If you want them to set quickly, allow them to rest in the refrigerator for a half an hour.

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Sweet Indulgence

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As I was trying to muster the energy last night to make steak kabobs the only thing on my mind was brownies and ice cream. It has been a long time since I’ve made something really chocolaty and gooey.

I managed (in a very uninspired manner) to build the steak kabobs…the whole time thinking about how I was going to make the brownies as delicious and sinful as possible.

It’s interesting how when you don’t really have your heart in something that it rarely turns out the way it should. The kabobs looked gorgeous on their skewers, swimming in a bath of marinade…but I really had my heart set on those brownies. Isn’t it funny that even at the age of 44 I still find it hard to give myself permission to have dessert instead of dinner? So many rules and regulations we place on ourselves that are so unnecessaryI would have survived just fine having brownies and ice cream for dinner.

It has eggs, coconut milk, brown rice flour, and olive oil…who’s to say brownies and ice cream aren’t an appropriate alternative to dinner? Not only that, but dark chocolate is excellent for your health.

The gas on our grill ran out in the middle of grilling the kabobs. My husband had to take off that heavy tank and replace it with another – meanwhile, the meat and veggies sat in the closed grill. I bet you can already see where this is going… So we fired up the grill again, and before I knew it, the meat was overdone (I prefer mine on the bloody side and this was more like beef jerky) and most of the vegetables had a generous amount of cancer causing char.

Meanwhile…the house was filling with the amazing scent of melted chocolate and puffy, s’more like marshmallows…

My husband likes his beef cooked more than I do and loves the crunchy bits of char on things when they are grilled, so all was not lost. I ate the “appropriate” amount of dinner like a good little girl, thinking about chocolate the entire time.

If you’re going to eat these brownies with ice cream, I suggest serving them hot, right out of the oven. They will be gooey and heavenly, but you will need to spoon them out.

If you prefer your brownie with four sides, you’ll have to wait for them to cool and set up.

Double Chocolate & Melted Marshmallow Brownies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 Namaste Brownie Mix (you will need eggs, oil, and water)

(or you can go here for Smidge’s homemade GF DF brownie recipe)

About a Half a Bag of Mini Marshmallows

About 1 Cup Roughly Chopped 72% Dark Belgian Chocolate

Dairy Free Ice Cream, (I prefer Coconut Bliss)

Make the brownie mix according to the directions. Generously oil an 8.5 x 11 baking dish or non-stick baking pan. Smooth half of the brownie mixture over the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the marshmallows over the batter and follow with the roughly chopped chocolate.

Dollop the remaining batter by the spoonful over the marshmallows and chopped chocolate until you have used all of the batter. Then, carefully smooth the dollops out, joining each with the back of a spoon.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes. Spoon into bowls while hot and serve with ice cream. Or, wait until they cool and set up and cut into squares.