Be My (GF) Valentine

GF Heart Pop

Chocolate is my favorite part of Valentine’s Day. I can’t resist showing you another picture of this yummy chocolate pop. This time with a snazzy pink background.

chocolate pop pink silk

Looks fancy, doesn’t it? But if you saw the pink silk up close, you’d notice there are bite and claw marks on it from kids and cats. Telling you takes the romance right out of it, I know. But that’s what kids and cats do, my friend. True story.

I’m not here just to make semi depressing comments about my domestic life. No. This post is about salad. Strange, I know. I really should be talking about chocolate. But bear with me.

You may know the sob story about my picky family and the fact that my husband only eats 2 vegetables. It makes me sad because I think under different circumstances I could totally be a vegetarian. Or perhaps more likely, an omnivore who enjoys eating truckloads of veggies. But that is not in the cards for me. Nor is sleep. As far as sleep goes, I’m screwed, but I have discovered the secret to enjoying vegetables again.

Lunch! Salads!

sweet heart potato salad

I have The Fairy Food Mother to thank for this epiphany. Her awesome post called Spectacular Salads really opened my eyes to what a salad could be. In a very manageable way, she breaks down how to add color, protein, and deliciousness to your salad. And she also includes an easy and yummy salad dressing recipe. Bonus!

For all you foodies out there, this realization of mine may seem kind of silly. A great big, “duh” factor. But to me, a strict recipe follower, this post taught me how to be creative with salads and not feel like I need to eat a burger afterwards. Before coming across this post, I hardly ever ate salads as meals, at least not at home. My idea of a homemade salad was mixed greens with lemon, olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt. Not shabby for a side dish, but not at all lunch.

What I love about my new salad making abilities, is that I can use whatever I have on hand. Often I see great looking recipes for salads, like this one, and think, oh I can make that. But then I don’t because I’m missing too many ingredients. Not anymore!

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Before you go thinking I roasted heart shaped sweet potatoes just for this post, you should know that I was attempting to get Bunky to eat what used to be her favorite food as a baby. There are many pictures of her with orange colored mush smeared all over her grinning face, but alas, she has not eaten them since. The hearts were a no-go for her, but went right in my salad along with…
  • mixed greens
  • grated cucumber and carrot – easier than chopping!
  • goat cheese
  • avocado
  • sunflower seeds
  • slices of tart apple (in this case, honey crisp)

But you can throw in anything you’d like, cheese, olives, beans, nuts, hard-boiled eggs, fresh or dried fruit, leftover chicken or salmon.

My only advice would be to think about whether you want your salad to lean towards sweet or savory. Because to me, the idea of using, say, goat cheese, strawberries and olives kind of grossed me out. I would keep olives for a savory salad, and use more neutral things in a sweet one. But that’s just me. You can do whatever you want, which is really the beauty of it.

Go forth and eat veggies. But don’t forget the chocolate. It is Valentine’s Day, after all.

I’m happy to have shared this post at the Gluten-Free Friday’s link up party hosted by Vegetarian Mamma. Click the link to find more great GF recipes!

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It’s also posted on One Creative Weekend, hosted by One Creative Mommyand Simply Sugar and Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays. * Please note, that the recipes on these two link-ups will NOT all be gluten free, so be sure to read carefully.

OneCreativeWeekendslightly_indulgent_tue

Chocolate Coconut Truffles

Chocolate Coconut Truffles

I used to think making chocolate was for professionals and grandmas in the know, but clearly I was wrong. Turns out anyone can “make” chocolate, especially if that means melting down previously made chocolate (i.e. chips, bar) and then reshaping it, maybe throwing a filling in the middle.

It was pretty easy, which was fortunate since I made them while holding Little Guy. You should see my left bicep. It’s huge. But more exciting to see are these homemade chocolate candies.

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The official name is Chocolate Coconut Truffles, coined by my fancy-pants husband. I thought about calling them Mini Mounds Bar knock-offs, but his sounds cooler. Also, these are way better for you than any over the counter artificial-flavor-jammed candy bar. The ingredients are few and simple. You may already have everything you need to make them. If so, get to it. You won’t regret it.

Don’t like coconut? Then fill it with something else. Jam, almond butter, dried cherries. My husband claimed not to like coconut in sweets, but then he tried these and well, he changed his mind. Maybe you will too. If not, you’re in good company. Bunky can’t stand anything coconut. (How is she my kid?) And she was not pleased when she spotted the last couple of these on the counter last night. Maybe I’ll make her some solid ones. The kid just doesn’t like fillings in chocolate. Seems unnatural, doesn’t it? Oh well. More for me.

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Chocolate Coconut Truffles

This recipe was adapted from Tasty Yummies very yummy looking Dark Chocolate Coconut Treats.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups coconut flakes or shredded, unsweetened
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (for the filling) + 2 teaspoons divided (for the chocolate)
  • 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips, divided in half
At the last minute I switched from bar chocolate to chips, but either is fine.

At the last minute I switched from bar chocolate to chips, but either is fine.

Directions:

1. In a food processor, blend the coconut flakes until in tiny pieces. (If using shredded this may not be necessary.) Then add 1/3 cup of coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Whirl until combined. Set aside.

Note: The coconut filling will not be entirely smooth and the color will have a tan hue because of the maple syrup. But don’t be alarmed. It tastes awesome. And it’s not maple syrupy at all. Just a nice sweet flavor. I tried to give some to Little Guy, but he refused. His loss, though, my gain. Did I mention this candy is for me?

Looks like rice, but it's sweet coconut love.

Looks like rice, but it’s sweet coconut love.

2. Then take 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips and melt in 30 second intervals in the microwave. Check every 30 seconds and stir. Mine took under 90 seconds total. Then add 1 teaspoon of melted coconut oil. Stir to combine. Add a bit more coconut oil if the chocolate seems too thick.

Using a teaspoon scoop a bit of chocolate into each compartment. I used one of those flexible ice cube trays from Ikea in the shape of small flowers. You could also use mini cupcake wrappers if you don’t have a tray like this.

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I used my fingers to spread the chocolate around. Don’t judge. You could also use a paintbrush (just for baking) and paint it in. Then pop it in the freezer until the chocolate hardens, about 5-10 minutes.

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3. Using a teaspoon, scoop a small mound of coconut filling into the center of each chocolate filled mold.

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4. Melt the other 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in the microwave, 30 second intervals. Add another teaspoon of coconut oil to thin it out a bit. Then dollop chocolate on top.

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Looks messy, I know, but I was holding a baby the entire time. Then smooth it out with a spatula and stick it in the freezer for another 10 minutes.

Carefully pop them out of the molds, and then try not to eat all of them at once.

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This recipe makes 16 of those mini candies using my mold. I had a small bowl of leftover coconut puree and decided to do something different the next day…

patty stackI used a mini muffin tin and pressed a teaspoon (or so) of coconut puree into the bottom of each well, then froze it for about 20 minutes. I melted some chocolate down with a teaspoon of coconut oil, poured it on top, then froze again until hardened. It filled 11 out of 12 muffin tin molds. Using a butter knife, I popped each sucker out. They come out rather easily.

Too easily, perhaps. We ALL ate them. You read that correctly! Bunky couldn’t resist the lure (and aroma) of chocolate, so she tried one and, surprise, surprise, liked it.

bunky eating pattySo much for having these all to myself! But I have to admit, it makes me happy to share. Not to mention it keeps me from being a total pig.

I’m happy to have shared this post at the Gluten-Free Friday’s link up party hosted by Vegetarian Mamma. Click the link to find more great GF recipes!

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It’s also posted on One Creative Weekend, hosted by One Creative Mommyand Simply Sugar and Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, and Green Thickies’ Healthy Vegan Fridays. * Please note, that the recipes on these three link-ups will NOT all be gluten free, so be sure to read carefully.

OneCreativeWeekendslightly_indulgent_tuehealthy vegan fridays