Homemade-Better Oats + Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

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Two work days down…only one to go before I get to enjoy some vacation time! Yay!

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Breakfast this morning was extra yummy thanks to two homemade ingredients.

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homemade almond butter

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and homemade granola.

I know it seems like a lot for so many homemade things to be in my eats, and two years ago I would have scoffed at myself like…really…WHO makes their own almond butter. But, I do. And it’s easy. You could do it too…promise.

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The almond butter and granola made the oats over the top.

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By the way, the chic-turquoise spoon really helped breakfast taste better, too. hehe

In today’s bowl of oatmeal:

  • extra-thick oats
  • milk
  • water
  • chia seeds
  • cocoa powder
  • banana
  • chocolate chips
  • coconut flakes
  • homemade granola
  • homemade almond butter

Nom!

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In other news, Bailey has figured out a new trick.

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He has mastered the art of finding the coziest, plushest, and most comfortable spot on any resting area. Note his body stretched across two pillows and one blanket. Nice, dog…nice.

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Hubby picked up Which Wich for lunch for us, but I added some cooked veg to complete our meal – steamed cabbage and baby carrots.

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Pickles.

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Plus a WW chicken sandwich, BBQ sandwich, lettuce, pepperoncini.

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The boys are liking the new couch.

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Oh and I have a new dough ball flavor for you!

Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

Inspired by Annie the Baker

*Be sure to check out the original – chocolate chip dough balls – click for recipe*

*Update – I’ve made a new variation – Butterscotch Oatmeal Dough Balls! Click for the recipe*

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 stick butter, softened/room-temp
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg (or flaxseed-egg)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup toffee chips (I used Heath)
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix sugars and butter till creamy. (I used a handheld mixer, but you could probably just use a whisk). Add egg and vanilla and mix till combined.
  4. Mix wet into the dry. Note: it will appear there is not enough liquid for the amount of dry ingredients, but continue mixing. It will form into a dough, it will just be a firm dough. See tips above for combining. Careful to not overmix.
  5. Gently fold toffee and chocolate chips into the dough, without overmixing.
  6. Refrigerate dough for at least 20 minutes before using a small sorbet scoop to scoop out dough into small mounds. Roll each mound into a ball and spread evenly on a baking sheet, leaving roughly 2-3 inches between each ball.
  7. Bake balls for 10-14 minutes, depending on how set you want your centers. If you use egg, and you’re paranoid like me, you can use a meat thermometer to ensure the centers of the balls are at least 160 degrees F, which many web sites say is the safe temp to eat eggs.
  8. Let your dough balls rest on the baking sheet to cool at least 5-10 minutes.
  9. Enjoy!

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Oh yes! Another tasty dough ball flavor comin atcha! Booyah!

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I brought a couple dough balls to Zumba tonight. Gina and Jane thoroughly enjoyed them. :)

Btw, zumba class was awesome! I’m now on 3 days in a row! I’m not teaching this week, but I do still go to classes of other instructors. I helped lead Aaja Soniye and Alright. Alright is one of my new faves. It’s a hot Pitbull track and I highly recommend downloading it because it’s F-U-N!!! I just wish I could show you our dance to the song.

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On my way home from class, I swung by Pasta & Provisions to get some fresh spaghetti.

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Oh and some of their famous rosemary foccacia.

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Hubby and I did a simple spaghetti dinner tonight.

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Is anything better than fresh pasta?

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Maybe dough balls? ;)

One more work day and it’s turkey time! I’m also looking forward to spending some time with family and hopefully picking up some of my unfinished crochet and knitting projects. I’m oh-so-good at starting them and not-so-good at finishing them. lol

Are you traveling for Thanksgiving? Where are you going or how far away from home?

Chocolate Chip Dough Balls Success

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Oh yes…chocolate chip dough balls…finally!

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7 batches later, I finally have a chocolate chip cookie dough ball recipe to share with you guys!

But maybe you’re wondering what the heck dough balls are anyways. Well…

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…back at the Foodbuzz Festival a couple weeks ago (wow, has it already been that long?), the buzz of the tasting pavilion was Annie the Baker’s dough balls. I had two. They were amazing. I knew as soon as I tasted them that I just had to try to re-create them at home.

On Monday, I was too jet-lagged to be creative, but on Tuesday, I attempted my first batch. Little did I know that on the other side of the country at (possibly) the same time, Mama Pea was working diligently on a vegan version of dough balls in a peanut butter flavor. Her balls came out beautiful and perfect.

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Mine started out ok, but…

…they baked up completely flat. (real photos from batch #1…oy vay! I was too embarrassed to publish them last Tuesday)

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I mean they were flatter than normal cookies, even. It was a total fail. *tear*

But, you guys know me…I like a good challenge. And, I would NOT let these dough balls get the best of me.

I researched what caused flat cookies and tried to do the opposite. My main takeaways were:

  • I needed to put the dough in the refrigerator before baking it
  • I needed to reduce the amount of baking soda I used
  • I needed reduce the amount of liquids in the recipe

So, I modified my recipe and tried…and tried…and tried again.

As I mentioned earlier, my second batch more resembled dog treats than human treats.

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I tweaked the draft recipe and while my third and fourth were pretty good, but didn’t have the right texture (though they were at least no longer flat).

My fifth made for a delicious regular chocolate chip cookie, but once again, they were flatter than they were supposed to be (though not nearly as flat as the dreaded batch #1).

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By batch #6, things had gotten serious. I knew I was on the verge of success, but wanted to put the dough balls through several tests before finalizing my recipe. I tried various variations of the draft recipe with the same dough, but different baking methods:

  • I tried refrigerating the dough
  • I tried freezing the dough
  • I tried baking the dough balls at 350, 375, and 400 degrees F

I tried various trial versions of the dough balls and made hubby do a taste test.

He thought they all tasted really good.

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Notes on baking times and modifications.

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A strange collection of dough balls baked from frozen, refrigerated, and at 350, 375, and 400 degrees F.

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Which version will taste the best?

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Only a taste test would tell.

I liked the version that was refrigerated and baked at 350 best.

***

So, here we are at lucky batch #7. See below for full recipe, but here are some photos to help.

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The wet just before stirring into the dry.

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It will look like there is entirely too much flour and not enough dry. You may think you’ll never be able to get cookie dough out of this desert of a bowl, but keep working the dough. Trust me. Just press the wet dough back into the dry parts, using the back of the spatula. Try to not overmix, though.

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Add in chocolate chips and Boom!

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You have chocolate chip cookie dough.

Now, you won’t actually want to eat this dough. Since it has raw egg in it (unless you use a flaxseed egg, and trust me, I will be testing that version of the recipe out sooner than later to ensure it works), you can’t safely eat it until it reaches 160 degrees F, according to various web sites.

First you’ll want to chill the dough a bit. You could probably skip the refrigeration step, but your dough balls may be a little more flat and cooked through in the center.

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Use a small scooper to scoop out same-sized balls of dough.

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I think this is either a melon baller or a sorbet scoop. Use the one that is smaller than an ice cream scoop. The one with the little sweeper button will make this process a bit easier for you.

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Roll the into balls.

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You can try skipping the ball rolling step, but since the balls will flatten out a bit during baking, I find it best to try to get them as “tall” as possible so they stay more ball-shaped throughout the cooking.

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Bake and you should have perfect little dough balls.

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You’ll want to look for very light browning on the raised area of the dough balls. For the most part, they may look like raw cookie dough when you remove them, but you don’t want to cook these too long or you’ll just have tall cookies and not dough balls. Likewise, you don’t want to undercook these because of the eggs. I used a meat thermometer to ensure the centers of my dough balls were over 160 degrees F to be safe.

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The bottoms will be lightly browned.

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Note cooked outside edge and tender inside. That’s pretty much what you’re looking for.

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But, you can cook your balls a minute or two longer if you want your center a bit more set, like this.

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5.0 from 1 reviews

Chocolate Chip Dough Balls Success
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ⅛ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ stick butter, softened/room-temp
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg (or flaxseed-egg)
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
Newer and Preferred Method (Scoop and Freeze)
  1. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix sugars and butter till creamy. (I used a handheld mixer, but you could probably just use a whisk). Add egg and vanilla and mix till combined.
  4. Mix wet into the dry. Note: it will appear there is not enough liquid for the amount of dry ingredients, but continue mixing. It will form into a dough, it will just be a firm dough. See tips above for combining. Careful to not overmix.
  5. Gently fold chocolate chips into the dough, without overmixing.
  6. Use a small sorbet scoop (about 1″ wide) to scoop out dough into small mounds. Note: In this method, I don’t roll the dough into balls, I just scoop straight to the baking sheet. Try to not let dough touch too closely so they don’t freeze together. Freeze for at least 30 minutes, though 1 hour is better if you can wait that long. See Notes below for tips on baking/freezing.
  7. When you’re ready for some sweet and delicious dough balls, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F. Bake balls for 8-10 minutes, depending on how set you want your centers (I find mine are perfect at 9 if the oven is well pre-heated). I usually consider mine done when the tips of the dough are lightly brown. If you use egg, and you’re paranoid like me, you can use a meat thermometer to ensure the centers of the balls are at least 160 degrees F, which many web sites say is the safe temp to eat eggs.
  8. Let your dough balls cool till they’re save to eat and enjoy!
Original Preparation Method (Chill and Scoop)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix sugars and butter till creamy. (I used a handheld mixer, but you could probably just use a whisk). Add egg and vanilla and mix till combined.
  4. Mix wet into the dry. Note: it will appear there is not enough liquid for the amount of dry ingredients, but continue mixing. It will form into a dough, it will just be a firm dough. See tips above for combining. Careful to not overmix.
  5. Gently fold chocolate chips into the dough, without overmixing.
  6. Refrigerate dough for at least 20 minutes before using a small sorbet scoop to scoop out dough into small mounds. Roll each mound into a ball and spread evenly on a baking sheet, leaving roughly 2-3 inches between each ball.
  7. Bake balls for 10-14 minutes, depending on how set you want your centers. If you use egg, and you’re paranoid like me, you can use a meat thermometer to ensure the centers of the balls are at least 160 degrees F, which many web sites say is the safe temp to eat eggs.
  8. Let your dough balls rest on the baking sheet to cool at least 5-10 minutes or until they’re safe to eat. Enjoy!
Notes
I almost always make a double batch of these, especially using the “Scoop and Freeze” method. I like to freeze the scooped dough balls on a baking sheet for at least an hour to overnight before moving them to a flat tupperware container. This way, you have dough balls ready to bake whenever you’re ready to eat them!

This is my favorite dough ball flavor, but the sugar cookie version is a close second!

***
I’m hoping to try out some other flavors I’ve been dreaming about (I’m thinking of mixing in oatmeal and almond paste!), but be sure to check out Mama Pea’s scrumptious Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Balls for another wonderful flavor option and a vegan version.

Btw, if you like my recipe, please consider liking the official The Chic Life Facebook page (click to view), so you can stay in the loop of my latest and greatest creations. I like to announce things early for my FB friends. ;)

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Who wants dough balls and pink salted caramels for Christmas? Because I’m starting to think that’s all I’m going to be making this holiday seaon. lol

Bon Appetit!

What’s the most times you’ve tried making a recipe? Did you ever get it right?

Chocolate Pumpkin Oats + Share TCL!

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Quick Updates

We have our first Healthy Thanksgiving Challenge 2010 entry! Click here to check out the challenge and the entry…it’s a goodie!

Oh and in case you missed it, I posted the recipes I promised recently:

In case you need ideas for dinner and stuff.

***

Eats!

As for today, I had a brainstorm this morning for breakfast. I like pumpkin oatmeal. I like chocolate pumpkin bread. So why not make chocolate-pumpkin oatmeal!?

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Oh yea!

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Hot coffee.

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Per the usual, my chocolate oats look decadent, but they really aren’t that sweet.

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I used unsweetened cocoa powder and only added a little maple syrup as my natural sweetener.

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On top: flaxseed meal, walnuts, cacao nibs.

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Hello beautiful!

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I made hubby and me love-bugs…err…love-mugs today full of hot tea. He had Tulsi and I had Yogi Echinacea.

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Yogi tea quote of the day: “You are infinite.

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Which Wich for lunch. I haven’t had this in awhile since I don’t like to order sandwiches out (because I don’t like to buy things out that I can easily make at home), but there’s something about the crispy-edged bread that is so appealing.

I had the Chicken Philly (which was surprisingly light – I think because they used deli meat) with provolone, lettuce, and tomato.

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Someone was sleepy today. That’s what he gets for being so restless the other night! lol

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Hubby was in charge of dinner again. He made grilled chicken with that Bahamian blackened seasoning, micro-baked potatoes (sweet for me, russet for him) and grilled broccolini.

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I enjoyed my sweet potato with a bit of real butter and a dusting of brown sugar.

***

Bloggie Updates – Share The Chic Life

And now for some blog updates. You may have noticed that a couple things have been changing here on The Chic Life. I’m especially excited about some updates related to sharing content. I hope you find my blog useful and a good resource for not only you, but for your family, friends, and co-workers. I’m hoping that the changes I’ve made over the last couple weeks will make my blog more share-friendly so you can better utilize my posts and recipes.

Read a recipe you liked? Why not Facebook-like it to share it with your friends?

Did I blog about some tips that you think your BFF would like, now you can email it, tweet it, or share it a number of other ways with the click of a button. Just look for the icon representing the share-method you want to utilize.

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And, of course, I always, ALWAYS love reading your comments. They offer me support and encouragement to keep doing what I do here on The Chic Life. Not to mention you guys have some pretty fantastic advice and ideas, so please keep ‘em coming! :)

Also, do I have any readers who work in offices? I’m going to be starting a new set of posts geared towards the working woman (or man). First post goes up tomorrow! Woohoo!

So, who will be the first to Facebook-like something here on The Chic Life? ;)

Vegan Ice Cream + New Breakfast Bowls

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After all the adventure earlier today, I decided to try out a kitchen experiment

Homemade Vegan Ice Cream

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Vegan ice cream!

I was inspired to try Mama Pea’s Cookies & Cream vegan ice cream – click here for recipe.

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I have an ice cream machine that requires the bowl to be frozen pre-ice-cream-making, so I got that prepped and placed in the freezer earlier this week.

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So, today I simply had to gather my ingredients and mix some stuff together. Gosh, ice cream is easy!

Xantham Gum

I think hubby nearly passed out when I asked him to get the Xantham Gum and he saw it was $12.99! I know that we only need a little bit at a time, but $13 is a lot at one time.

I considered omitting the xanthan gum, but I read online that it was best to use it (unless you had an allergy or something) because it helps ice cream stay creamy instead of getting icy.

I also learned (from my google search) that Xanthan Gum is a thickener commonly used in sauces and dressings and gluten free baking. You may have even noticed on the ingredient list of products you buy, if you read them.

Bottom line, I decided that we needed it, and now we have enough to make batches and batches and batches of ice cream! :lol:

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My ice cream machine was a cinch to put together and then I just had to turn it on and start adding my ice cream mixture.

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The machine ran for roughly 20 minutes before I checked it for consistency. It looked like it was close to being done (it seemed pretty well thickened to me at least) and I considered adding the cup of crushed chocolate cookies at this point…till I realized my 1 quart ice cream maker was TOO FULL! Doh!

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So, I just let the machine run an extra 5 minutes, then turned the machine off and poured it into a mixing bowl. I mixed the ice cream and cookie pieces by hand.

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Totally got to lick the spatula…to check the flavor of course! ;)

I placed my ice cream in the freezer to thicken up while I worked on some other stuff around the house.

Shopping Spree

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Check out my latest shopping spree goodies! My new breakfast bowls! Ok, they’re “cups” but I got them more for eating purposes than drinking.

I bought these glasses from Crate + Barrel today for breakfasts and snacks.

I strategically selected each of these glasses for size, shape and usability.

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The smaller mug will be for my mini ice cream and yogurt parfait snacks. At 4 ounces, this means it will be the perfect 1/2 cup snack size.

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The larger cups are going to be for full-sized breakfast parfaits or if I’m especially craving a large portion of ice cream, etc. At 9 ounces, this cup is really better for a cup-ish worth of yogurt and granola and fruit, or even a smoothie, but we’ll see.

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I also picked up these snazzy mini spoons. They’ll be perfect for eating from my small glassware or as condiment spoons when we’re entertaining. I love the pattern on the silver spoon.

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I also got this bowl for morning oatmeal. No size reasoning on this one, I just liked the size and shape. :)

Lunchtime Eats

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While my ice cream thickened up, I whipped up a quick lunch: breaded halibut, steamed broccoli and toasted Whole Grain Goodness with a wee bit of real butter.

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I picked up this Honest Ade – Pomegranate Blue from the race earlier. (What? Other spectators were getting it too!) It had a great flavor and I liked how it was “just a tad sweet.”

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After lunch I dove straight into my homemade vegan ice cream!

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Decorated with 2 cookies.

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Loved it! The recipe was super easy and the flavor was great. Thanks Mama Pea!

Reader question – Have you tried coconut milk ice cream before (homemade or store-bought)? What did you think?

Peachy-Keen Breakfast + Theo Pink Salted Caramel Review

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Howdy folks! Hope you’re all having a spectacular week!

Wedding Bliss

I, myself, am getting more and more excited for my trip this weekend. I haven’t said much about it, but I think I mentioned yesterday that the wedding is for my oldest best friend. Oldest as in years I’ve known her. I moved around quite a bit when I was younger and when I was around 7 or 8, we moved to yet another new neighborhood in Orlando, FL. Shortly after moving in, a little girl in our neighborhood stopped by with a plate of no-bake peanut butter and jelly cookies. And the rest is history. We instantly became best friends, which was really convenient since we both lived in the same cul-de-sac, just 2 houses away from each other. We took piano lessons together and visited theme parks together (especially the water parks! love those!) and just had a blast…till a couple short years later when my family decided to move back to SC. *sad face*

My friend and I vowed to spend two weeks together each year so we could stay in touch, but that eventually fizzled out.

Well, fast forward many years and around 2005, I decided to google my dear friend and would you know it…she was in NC for school! She actually lived just a couple miles away from hubby’s mom and was taking a class from his aunt! Small world!

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I found my friend, Serena, just in time to have her be a co-maid of honor in my wedding and now, I’m going to be a bridesmaid in hers!!!

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The photo of my bridesmaid dress was one hint and this weather report is another. Check out the weather report for the wedding destination for the weekend. It’s going to be gorgeous! Know where I’m going yet?

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While I’m super pumped about the wedding, I’m really sad to be leaving this little guy behind. He never gets to go on the cool trips! Luckily, my family will be taking care of him this weekend, so I know he’ll be in good hands.

(Think I could sneak Bailey into my carry-on? heehee)

Wednesday Eats

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My Take Out Oops from last night (click) brought me a fantabulous breakfast of a Flying Biscuit Oatmeal pancake with peach topping. Sooo good…I feel a new obsession coming on.

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Hot coffee.

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Morningstar “sausage” on the side for extra TFB effect (TFB is the first place I had a non-meat “sausage”)

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I re-heated my pancake in the oven for a crispy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside texture.

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Did I mention this peach topping is delicious. *drool*

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Thanks to my ankle, I wore sneaker to work today. I don’t really think that many people noticed. My ankle is actually feeling pretty good today…I almost wanted to work out on it, but I want to ensure I rest enough for it to be 100% rather than push myself too far, too soon.

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Lunch was basically a repeat of yesterday.

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A big organic salad with dressing leftover from last night. Hey, waste not, want not. That dressing was delicious! I need to try to re-create it!

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Southwestern Quinoa Salad.

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Spelt toast (no topping). I need to get some jelly or something to keep at work, right?

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Heeey Minneola!

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It was cold in the office today, but luckily I was prepared. I bundled up in a Patagonia blanket I keep at my desk. The only problem is that I usually still need to type on my keyboard, so my arms/hands tend to stay cold.

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I swung by Great Harvest on my way home from work and got some treats for me and hubby and sampled their spinach bread. Dee-lish! I need me some of this!

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I dug into my first snack immediately – a mini cinnamon roll…yuuuum!

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Matt swung by today to help hubby bottle his home-brew and brought us a loaf of sourdough. Thanks Matt!!

I was going to incorporate the bread into dinner plans till hubby ordered pizza.

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I had two slices of cheese before I decided that I just HAD to have some of the sourdough.

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You try saying no to this! Nothing beats fresh-baked bread!

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I had a piece and a half (hubby asked for a bite) with some real butter.

Nice balanced, carb-aholic, dinner…riiiiight? hehe Some veggies would have been nice, but…oh well.

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Post dinner, we dug into our other GH treat – a split blondie.

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The blondie tasted almost like it wasn’t quite cooked through all the way, so I baked it for an extra 5 minutes.

The extra bake-time helped a little bit, but I wasn’t a fan of this one. Some people like the really dense, squishy center, but it’s not my thing. Now, those berry oat bran muffins…I am still infatuated with those. Yum!

Theo Pink Salted Caramel Review

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And, as if I didn’t have enough desserts today, I also decided to sample one of those Theo caramels I requested recently.

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Aren’t these Theo Chocolate Pink Salted Vanilla Caramels in Dark Chocolate gorgey?!

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I’m ready for my close-up Mr. Demille. ;)

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The verdict: delicious! It’s true what they say – that the salt accentuates the flavor of the caramel. The caramel was lovely and tender and was just the right amount of sweet. The dark chocolate was a nice, subtle shell for the main event – that fabulous caramel. I liked how the salt was nice and coarse so you could really taste it and get a good feel for the crunchy texture. This was a lovely marriage of savory and sweet. I think that these caramels would be best for the slightly more refined palate or the more adventurous eater or if you just want to give the gift of extra special sweets. Ooh la la! Click here to check out Theo’s other caramel flavors or to purchase the pink-salted vanilla flavor.

Thanks to Theo Chocolate for the samples! I’m moving on to the Orange Dark Chocotate next!

*

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Learn how to use food to your advantage with these tips I learned from Brendan Brazier.

It’s Earth Day tomorrow! Check out my article (click) for some easy ways to go Green.

Have you ever had salted caramels? What did you think?

Take Out Oops + Organic Gardening Q+A

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*Before I forget yet again, thanks to Bonnie, Taylor, and Ashley for your fun zumba notes. I loved reading them!*

More Tuesday Eats

After my fabulous quinoa breakfast, I brewed up some Teavana tea.

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Mate Vana + Rooibos Macadamia = delicious tea

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Sweetened with local honey.

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I was extra glad to be at home so I could get comfortable and prop my foot up. RICE, right? Ok, so my “injury” isn’t that serious, but I’ll do anything to make it get better faster! So far no swelling, so I expect to be 100% sooner than later. *crossing fingers*

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I got stuck on phone conferences and couldn’t get to lunch so I snacked on some Stacy’s Pita chips. Darn you Stacy and your irresistible pita chips!! It’s too easy to eat these.

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I had a nice, healthy lunch today.

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A GIANT salad or organic veggies: baby spinach, romaine, cherry tomatoes, sunflower seeds, pepitas and Drew’s Rosemary Balsamic.

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Plus a piece of spelt toast with some Homestead Creamery butter (from my weekend grocery trip)…so so good!

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I was mostly excited about digging into my creation from last night – Southwestern Quinoa Salad (click for recipe).

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For nutrition, I had a mini Vega Health Optimizer shake made with a little more than 1/2 a scoop of mix plus plain ole water.

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Then I had a not-so-healthy snack – a mini Texas donut…

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…plus some Tulsi tea in India Breakfast.

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I got a candle going to combat the rainy day and make the room smell yummy.

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For dinner, I got take out from The Flying Biscuit. I asked the guy on the phone to help me choose from 3 options (turkey meatloaf, turkey pot roast, and herb-crusted chicken). He recommended the chicken (served with mac and cheese and collards) so I took his suggestion.

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The dinner came with a salad with a vinaigrette dressing.

Dinner was also supposed to come with a biscuit (hello, the restaurant is called The Flying BISCUIT!) :lol: but I didn’t get it. I called to ask if the dinner was supposed to come with a biscuit (in case I misunderstood) and they said it was supposed to. The person I spoke with was very friendly and apologetic and when I said I wanted to come back for the biscuit (yes, I really wanted it!), they offered to throw in dessert. They started to go down the dessert list, but I had another idea – breakfast! I am still thinking about the fabulous breakfast hubby and I had at TFB last Saturday. So, I got a single oatmeal pancake with peach topping to go. I’m already looking forward to breakfast now!

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I was really excited about my biscuit, but you know what…the restaurant forgot the apple butter. :oops:

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Luckily, I had some Kime’s at home, which I heated up to get the full Flying Biscuit experience.

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I got to enjoy my biscuit whilst catching the latest Glee – the Madonna episode! I love this show…so glad I remembered to watch it this week. I’m pretty bad at watching TV shows because I don’t pay much attention to the schedules and forget when they’re on.

Anywho, The Flying Biscuit made some mistakes tonight, but who doesn’t!? No one’s perfect. The important thing to me was that they were concerned about my satisfaction and they went out of their way to make me happy. Thanks TFB…I’ll definitely be back.

Theo Chocolates

After contacting Theo Chocolate, I was thrilled they were interested in sending me some samples to review. :mrgreen:

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The chocolate came extra-nicely packaged with cornstarch packing peanuts! Neat! I usually try to keep my peanuts to re-use them when I ship stuff, but it’s nice to see how eco-friendly these are – they dissolve in water!

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Theo Chocolate sent me some awesome stuff – some Pink Salted Vanilla Caramels in Dark Chocolate

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…plus an Orange Dark Chocolate bar.

I love how Theo supports both Organic and Fair Trade. I can’t wait to sample these and write up my reviews!

Organic Gardening Q+A with Don

You guys had some fabulous questions for Don, founder of Instant Organic Garden. In fact, we already have answers for those questions:

Michelle –

Question for Don: I’m wanting to start a garden, but I’ll be living in a rental property and can’t plant like I’d like to. Do you have any tips on container gardening?

Yes, use as big a container as possible, especially for summer plants like tomatoes. A whiskey-barrel sized container is sufficient for a single tomato plant. Use good-quality potting mix, but no synthetic fertilizers. Natural fertilizers like Plant-Tone or worm castings are best.

Jessica –

Question for Don: What are some examples of vegetables in North Carolina that are cheaper to purchase as well as examples of those you would grow.

Avoid crops that are inexpensive in the stores, take a lot of room (watermelon, corn, okra), don’t taste better fresh (potatoes, onions) and don’t offer a long term harvest (iceberg lettuce, bush beans.)

Julie -

Question for Don: I only have a very small gardening plot available at my apartment (but I am lucky to have one I can use considering I am only renting my apartment!) What is the best way to maximize your space when trying to grow a variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Any suggested additional resources?

Good soil with organic fertilizer means you can plant three times closer together. Set up a trellis for climbing plants like beans and cucumbers. My book shows you how to get started. “No Green Thumb Required! Organic Family Gardening Made Easy.

Thanks for your answers Don!
If you’d like to ask Don a question about organic gardening, he’s kindly offered to answer some more! Leave a comment on this post starting with “Question for Don: ” and I’ll do my best to get your question to him.
If you’re in the Charlotte area, you can go to one of Don’s many local events to ask questions in person. :) Click here for his event page.

Randomness

Giveaway Alert! I have a super-cool giveaway planned for Thursday…stay tuned for details.

Page Updates – I’ve updated several of my pages:

  • Recipes – wow, I thought I only had to add one or two from the last week…turns out I was missing a TON!
  • Reviews – added links for some recent reviews
  • Blogroll – new bloggie friends

One great way, as suggested in my post the other day, to go Green this week for Earth Day is to get a re-usable water bottle. I just added the Klean Kanteen water bottle to my OpenSky shop if you need one. I’m also working to get some other sizes/colors added, so I hope to have some new options soon.

Did I mention I have a wedding to go to this weekend?! It’s my oldest best friend’s wedding! I can’t wait!

Have you ever picked up a take-out order only to realize after you get home that something is wrong/missing? What did you do? What did the restaurant do when you told them?

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