Weekly Review: Good Eats, Friends Date & The Weekend

Another week of March has come and gone, what?! In exactly five days we are going to be into April and I am so excited! April is my favorite month! Why you ask?

It’s BIRTHDAY MONTH!

One of my favorite parts of life is being able to celebrate my beautiful sister’s and my birthday together since they are only two days apart! This year will be different, for the mister and I are traveling during birthday week, but that doesn’t mean anything in regards to birthday month! ūüėČ

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I thought we’d have coffee together on this dreary Monday and just recap our last week. Was yours good? I hope so! Not a lot of sunshine the past few days, but I know that it’s coming. “Be patient Melissa.”

Monday

Monday was a typical day in the life, meal planning, grocery store for vegetables, cleaning & organizing, and of course some time in the kitchen!

I made up a delicious Beef & Veggie Taco Pasta for dinner. Low carb ‚ąö, healthy ‚ąö, dairy free¬†‚ąö and easy¬†‚ąö¬†! I’m going to have to make it again, so I can share what I did, but all you need to do is make taco meat, add all the vegetable you want, pasta of choice, add a little pasta water to help make a sauce and there you have it!

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I also tried out a new recipe for dessert¬†Almond Flour Blondies. I substituted swerve sweetener for the sugar, and halved the amount brown sugar called for by using truvia brown sugar. Then used dairy free chocolate chips. OMG. Get on that recipe. It’s good!

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Wednesday

Wednesday started out on a happy note, the sun was shining and I got to enjoy a lovely breakfast while reading my early birthday present from a dear friend!

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Trim Healthy Mama cookbook is amazing! So if you are looking for great recipes to add to your current way of eating, get on that! Thank you so much to my Lauren for the awesome surprise!

I then joined some of my favorites from work to see Beauty & the Beast! It is everything you dreamed it would be. At one point I did feel like I might be tripping (although I never have so hmmm). Just go see it!

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We ended up getting a late lunch at¬†J. Timothy’s Taverne¬†and it was really nice spending time with these lovelies outside of work.

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Buffalo Chicken Cobb Salad

I’m very grateful to have a job where we can all get together on a Wednesday, it really made for a great midweek treat!

Thursday

By the time Thursday came around, I was feeling the need to slow down {for no apparent reason} so the day is a blur. I’m sure I spent most of it relaxing and looking at recipes, because that’s what a foodie does, when she wants to do nothing!

We did have some delicious¬†Roasted Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup¬†paired with some leftover ham. I used Kerrygold’s grass fed white cheddar (which I know is not dairy free) but sometimes, we have to indulge a little!

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Friday

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Can you believe this sunrise? That’s what Friday started with before work, and it was just gorgeous. I really need to start using my “adult camera” more. I am amazed at how beautiful nature, life, everything is, if we just take a moment to really see it.

Before we knew it, the weekend was here!

Saturday & Sunday

Our plans for the weekend were up in the air and I’m happy with how relaxed it was.

We enjoyed a delicious weekend breakfast.

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We went grocery store hopping- Market 32, Costco, Adam’s and Whole Foods in one weekend! (I would live in grocery stores if I could)

We hit up Whole Foods Hot/Cold Bar for some lunch.

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I found some great new items to add to my list of wholesome products I love. We are prepared for some healthy good eats this week!

We ate our favorite The Best Turkey Sloppy Joes over spaghetti squash.

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We marathon watched Bridget Jones, all three of them! Well, the dogs and I did.

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We spent time with our family for Sunday dinner.

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This handsome boy is always on the go, so that’s the best we did! I still love it.

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And we ended our weekend on a sweet note. Sugar free Strawberry Banana Jello, strawberries and coconut whip!

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All in all, a great week of good eats, some wonderful moments with the ones we love, and another week to be thankful for.

Until next time, enjoy all your moments, whatever they may be. They all count!

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Christmas 2016

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So this is Christmas and what have you done,

Another year over a new one just begun.

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And so this is Christmas, I hope you had fun,

The near and the dear ones, the old and the young.

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A very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year,

Let’s hope it’s a good one without any fear.

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And so this is Christmas for weak and for strong,

The rich and the poor ones, the road is so long.

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And so happy Christmas, for black and for white,

For the yellow and red ones let’s stop all the fights.

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A very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year,

Let’s hope it’s a good one without any fear.

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So this is Christmas and what have you done,

Another year over a new one just begun.

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And so this is Christmas, I hope you had fun,

The near and the dear ones, the old and the young.

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A very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year,

Let’s hope it’s a good one without any fear.

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War is over if you want it, war is over now.

-John Lennon

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and wishing you the absolute best New Year!

Healthier Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

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Oh sweet tooth, you are at it again.

Forcing me to research, brainstorm and create a recipe just so you can enjoy one of life’s greatest creations….brownies.

Rich chocolate, fudgey, mouth watering brownies….that don’t cause your body to jump into sugar shock only to retreat into a carb induced coma.

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One of my greatest joys with experimenting in the kitchen, is when my chef husband loves what I’ve made. While he isn’t a tough critic in the sense that he is a food snob, his opinion and years of experience mean something to me. Ratings of 10/10 in anything I make, seriously make me feel proud of what I’m doing.

I think the best creations in the kitchen come from your heart. When you are passionate about what you are doing, it is always going to be a success. The recipe itself may take some tweaking but what is a passion without trying for your own standard of perfection.

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With that being said, this is not suppose to be comparable to a real brownie made out of sugar and flour (which are delicious, I might add). This is something different, and to me….better. I have no guilt eating this as a treat. I don’t think you will either. Its rich, dense and full of chocolate flavor.

Healthier Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Makes 16 Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil or butter
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips {can use sugar free chocolate}
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup swerve sweetener {or 1/2 cup coconut sugar, honey, agave, sugar}
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium microwave safe bowl, add coconut oil (or butter), dark chocolate, and peanut butter. Microwave for 2 minutes until mixture is melted and smooth. Put aside.

In another bowl add eggs, swerve sweetener (or sweetener of choice) and vanilla extract. Mix until combined. Add coconut flour, unsweetened cocoa powder and salt.

When fully combined, add in peanut butter chocolate mixture.

Spray a 8X8 pan with nonstick spray or use parchment paper for easy clean up.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth out batter. Place into oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until set and inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to fully cool.

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Cut into 16 squares and enjoy!

Happy Eating!

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Low Carb Magic Bars

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Is there anything you distinctly remember about your childhood? Something that when one of your senses is heightened, it brings back instant nostalgia? I have many and I am so grateful that our brains do the involuntary magic that they do.

While a lot of my memories are of things we did, places we went and who we enjoyed these moments with, it is no surprise that some of them completely involve food. Because food = life, right?

My mom always use to make seven layer bars when we were growing up. Ooey, gooey, chocolate, coconut filled mounds of delicious joy. It’s been so long since I’ve had one, but I still recall the kitchen I grew up with, the counter where all the treats sat and the warmth my mom always provided us with. Whether it be her love, her cooking, or her thoughtfulness, she has always been the best mom. We are very grateful for her and her seven layer bars.

For they inspired these….

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I am a firm believer in ending the day with a little something sweet and with changes to my diet over the past few years, I have loved experimenting with new sweet treats that everyone can enjoy!

Low Carb Magic Bars

Makes 16 servings

Ingredients

Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup of full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup swerve sweetener
  • 1/4 coconut palm sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Magic Bars

  • 3/4 cup coconut flour (measured to 66 grams), sifted
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, room temperature
  • 3 tbsp of swerve sweetener
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup slivered or chopped almonds
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips, chopped

Directions

To make the caramel sauce, place coconut milk, swerve sweetener, coconut sugar and salt into a sauce pan. Heat slowly and bring to a simmer on medium low heat. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes until the caramel is a nice golden color and has started to thicken. The sauce will thicken more as you remove it from heat and allow to cool. Add vanilla extract when you have removed pan from heat. (I doubled the caramel sauce recipe and saved half in the refrigerator for future use, which meant another batch, haha)

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, add the coconut oil and 3 tbsp of swerve sweetener and mix well. Add the sifted coconut flour and mix until fully combined. You will have a wet dough.

Take an 8X8 baking dish (or comparable dish) and line with parchment paper for nonstick and easy clean up. Pour dough into dish and press evenly throughout. It will be a thin crust, but don’t worry.

Place into oven and bake for 7-8 minutes until the edges are starting to get golden brown. The dough will still be somewhat soft.

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Next, you will place the almonds and pecans on top of crust. Press down softly so that the nuts are slight pushed into the crust. Add the chocolate chips evenly, then the coconut flakes.

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Last, pour the caramel sauce over all the delicious ingredients. Gently shake the pan so that the caramel sauce can sink between the layers.

Place into oven and bake for 27-28 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.

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Place the bars into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

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When ready, cut into bars and enjoy!

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The first time I made these, I brought them to a family birthday party and they were a hit!

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Just look at the layers of delicious goodness.

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Try to stop at just one, because it’s not possible.

Happy Eating!