Chocolate Ganache Tarts!

Morning!! Today is my second day of summer and I’ve mastered the position of sitting on the couch with coffee, computer and the TODAY show! Where was I yesterday you ask? I was very busy on my first day of summer. I woke up nice and early Danny’s fault to get the day started right. I went to kickboxing at 9:30, which I haven’t done since last summer.

*Mini rant: I find it to be very annoying when the instructor is late to class. Someone from the front desk of NYSC came up to tell us she was running late because she missed her train. She ended up being 15 minutes late and ended the class 5 minutes early. Not only that but she was majorly distracted and ran out of the room twice while telling us to “run it out”. I’ve taken this class many times and she usually is late, but not this late. I don’t mind if it’s once in awhile but everyone in her class was complaining she’s like this every week. Okay I’m done. :)

After kickboxing I came home and started on some dessert. My mom asked me to cook for her impromptu mini dinner party she was having.  She kind of just threw it together quickly and I offered to help. So I came up with the menu Monday and then yesterday my sister and I went to the food store to get everything and spent the entire day cutting, chopping, assembling and cooking. 

The menu was:
– mesclun salad with feta, cherry tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, and walnuts
– grain salad (Trader Joe’s Harvest grain mix – couscous, orzo, quinoa) with small white beans, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and parsley, corn
– stuffed mushrooms
– Dreena Burton’s artichoke dip
– traditional and olive/garlic hummus
– chocolate ganache tarts
– fruit platter
– marinated grilled chicken

It took us all day but everything came out wonderful. I will be sharing the recipes throughout the week because it’s WAY too much to post all in one day! 

Chocolate Ganache Tarts (raw and vegan)

Nut Crust
Ingredients
– 1 cup almonds (soaked for 2-3 hours)
– 1/2 cup cashews (soaked for 2-3 hours)
– 5-6 dates
– 1/4 cup cacao powder (I used Ghiradelli’s cocoa powder)
– 2 tsp agave nectar
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– pinch of sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse to combine well. 
Scoop into paper or silicone baking cups. Freeze for about 10-15 minutes.

Chocolate Ganache Topping
Ingredients
– 3/4 cup cacao or cocoa powder
– 1/4 cup + 2 tbs coconut oil
– 3 tbs maple syrup
– 1 1/2 tbs agave nectar
– a pinch of sea salt

Combine all in food processor and pulse until smooth.



Put the ganache in a icing bag (or ziplock like I did) and pipe onto tart crusts. Place a raspberry or strawberry on top.


Chris HATED these….hah, right.




Alternatively, I made some with just chocolate shells. I used 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips and 2 semi sweets bakers squares. I melted them in the microwave and then spooned then into the silicone baking cups. Freeze them for about 20 minutes until hard, then pop them out of the cups.



I also used the chocolate ganache on top of these. 


Bailey approved.

Honestly, I think this is the best dessert I ever made. No guilt, 100% satisfaction! :) Thanks for all your help Chris and Jess. More on the party planning recipes to come!

Off to run…it finally cooled down!

Salad Pizza!

It’s here! Summer’s here! It’s been long awaited, but now I have 10 glorious weeks off! What do I plan on doing, did you say? I plan on doing as much or as little as I want to do. I plan on baking,cooking, beaching, reading, spending time with friends and family and anything else my heart desires. I plan on trying out new workouts, going into the city, making new treats and maybe even cleaning my apartment once in awhile. 

The end of the school year was HOT. I finally finished moving classrooms today, which involved me telling my students to go up to my new room and put things like leftover paper towels and books whenever they saw fit. This may make my August/September a bit scary, but I can’t begin to think about it right now. Today was the hottest day yet, so I really wasn’t motivated to do much. 

With all this hot weather, the kitchen is the last place I have wanted to be. I usually HATE turning on the air conditioner but with this heat, I have no choice. I can already envision my electric bill being sky high for this month.  

Since I am trying to stay out of the kitchen, friday night I decided pizza would be perfect. I wanted to use some of the chickpea flour I got from Bob’s Red Mill so I went to the twitter world to see if anyone knew anything about it. Erica got back to me and helped me out.  

I wanted to make something cool and refreshing, so I decided to make salad pizza. 

                              

                            
For this dough I used:
– 1 cup water (80-90 degrees)
– 3/4 tsp honey
– 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
– 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 1 cup whole wheat flour
– 1 1/4 cup spelt flour
– 1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour
– 1 3/4 tsp yeast

Put ingredients in bread machine in the order listed. Start to make dough on pizza dough cycle.
When dough finishes, roll out on pizza stone. Cook at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, depending on desired crispiness. 

Salad topping
– mesclun blend
– 1 tomato (cut into slices)
– 1 cucumber (chopped)
– any other toppings you’d enjoy (black olives, feta, mozzarella, goat cheese)
– balsamic vinaigrette

In a large bowl combine all salad ingredients. Toss with dressing and spoon onto pizza dough. Cut into slices and enjoy like pizza!

                            

* Danny would eat salad pizza, but would rather a more traditional pizza. This is a perfect way to make 2 meals at one time. Sometimes I make a little something different for him so he isn’t always forced to eat what I want to eat. Even though most of the time he likes it, this is one of those times he would prefer his own pizza. I separated the dough into thirds and made his pizza with 2/3rds of the dough and mine with the remaining 1/3rd.  Making two meals when the base of the meal is the same is a very easy way to satisfy everyone. 

His pizza had fire roasted diced tomatoes, fresh basil and parsley and mozzarella cheese topped with sea salt, black pepper and pecorino romano cheese. (Baked at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.)


                            

This way everyone is happy! 


What’s your favorite pizza topping?
Have a good night everyone!

Race Recap: Achilles Hope and Possibility 5 miler!

Hellooo Sunday, you come around so fast. This weekend has been scorching hot and humid and our race today was no different.  I have 1/2 day left at school then it’s a nice 10 weeks of summer filled with the beach, books, blogging, working out, shopping, weddings, traveling, eating, etc.


Yesterday I woke up ridiculously early at 5:45 and was raring to go. Danny wasn’t surprised considering I fell asleep basically while it was still light out. That’s what a couple days of waking up at 5:00 am does to me. We hopped in the car, got some iced coffees and sandwiches and headed down to the beach. It was so hot there, we only stayed for around 3 hours and then went to visit my grandma and aunt. It was a packed day even though it doesn’t seem like we did that much.

This morning I slept in and woke up around 6:30. I woke up put some things around our apartment away and had a pre race breakfast. I had a power muffin and a banana with peanut butter. We left around 7:30, which wasn’t really early enough. The race was in Central Park, the Achilles Hope and Possibility 5 mile run. It brought together disabled and abled bodies runners and walkers. It was really inspiring seeing people who with disabilities come out and complete the course. Everyone was cheering for them throughout the course. Prince Harry was there to run and support the race. I didn’t see him but Danny did, he tried to point him out to me but his 12 inches of height on me really allow him to see things I can’t. I tried to be one of those people who totally stopped in their tracks to see him, but there were so many people it didn’t really work.

For me, this was a very hard race. It wasn’t the longest or the shortest I have done, but it was just so hot and humid out. I especially struggled on mile 3, which felt like it was all up hill. I slowed down my pace to 9:10 for that mile, but the 1st,2nd and 4th mile were all around 8:30-8:45 and mile 4 was 8:13. I just wanted to get done when I passed that mile 4 marker, plus it was all down hill so that helped me pick up my pace. We finished in around 43:30, I’m not sure of the exact time because I didn’t start my watch at the exact second because I was trying to see Prince Harry haha.

At the finish I didn’t feel that good (or that bad) but I definitely needed to walk around after to just bring my heart rate down. Walking for 5 minutes and eating an apple helped me to feel better. They handed out metals at the end, which I was pretty excited about!


After we went to breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien again and I had a mushroom and asparagus egg white omelette. Danny branched out and had an avocado, mozzarella and tomato omelette. That was really adventurous for him, I was proud! I love this place because it’s all organic food with the same prices as anywhere else, which makes me wonder why every where else is so expensive and not organic??


I am proud of our race time since it was SO hot. There may be yoga on the schedule for later to stretch out. Now we’re off to a graduation party….see you later! Enjoy your hot Sunday!!

I Just Can't Help Myself…

I just can’t help myself….at Trader Joe’s. I find myself walking up and down aisles and just grabbing my good old reliable items that I never, ever, ever want to run out of. Almond butter? Have it, have over half a jar of it, but need another one to sit in my pantry and wait until that day I go through half a jar of it in one sitting. Heaven’s forbid I go half a day without it…scary thought. Another thing to add to my list? Frozen fruit. They practically give it away at TJ’s, so I MUST stock up on Very Cherry Blend and Mixed Berries….and frozen organic blueberries too. Then then list goes on…frozen wild fish…crackers…cheeses…and then whatever else I may find that I haven’t tried before, like this…

I figured why not? Who doesn’t like broccoli slaw? I had this as a little snack when I got home with some balsamic dressing. 



Anyways, since I hate running out of things…it makes my pantry look like this…


and my freezer look like this…


Don’t tell my mom….(or my father in law…)

Eventually Danny gets sick of looking at this and reorganizes everything…this usually happens once a month and then the cycle begins again. 



Please tell me some one else has this problem too? I just hate running out of things, it makes me nervous, so therefore I must stock up on things.

Have you tried these? This aveeno body wash, pomegranate + rice = AMAZING. (Thanks to Jess for helping me pick it out!) And the Avalon Organic cream shave makes my legs way less itchy after shaving (and only for $4.99 at Whole Foods). 

 This stocking up thing isn’t just for food, it goes for body wash, shampoo and conditioner, lotions, makeup, etc. I think it’s my mom’s fault….




Tell me you have this problem…or another one very similar at least. Have a great weekend!!!