Category Archives: snacks

HASTY TASTY HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE SPREAD

I love Nutella®, but it has refined sugar, a no-no for me.  So I searched both books and online sources for a homemade version of chocolate hazelnut spread. None suited me, but one came close: Skinny Ms. “Skinny Nutella Spread – The Healthier Version.” I experimented with that recipe but soon went my own way.

This is my version of Hazelnut Chocolate Spread. My recipe uses the Vitamix. If you don’t have a Vitamix, you will need both a blender and a food processor. Read all the directions before you try making it. It looks complicated, but it really isn’t. Complicated recipes don’t qualify as “Hasty Tasty” meals. 😉  

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Ingredients

RECIPE

Hasty Tasty Hazelnut Chocolate Spread

Makes 2 cups

©2014 Cheryl Norman

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound hazelnuts, roasted and skinned*
  • ½ cup Hershey’s Cocoa Powder (I used Special Dark because I prefer bittersweet chocolate)
  • ¼ cup raw honey (select a light, mild tasting honey)
  • 1 packet pure Stevia extract
  • ¾ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or any milk will work)
  • ¼ tsp. Kosher or other pure salt

Directions:

  1. *Spread hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet (Hint: I roast one pound then freeze half for later) and place in a preheated 375°F oven for 15 minutes.
  2. While hazelnuts roast, combine cocoa, honey, almond milk, salt, and stevia in the container of the Vitamix (or your blender). Blend until thoroughly mixed. Pour cocoa mixture into a microwave safe bowl or pitcher and cover with a wet paper towel.
  3. Microwave the cocoa mixture in one minute increments, stirring after each minute, until mixture is hot (This takes about two minutes in a 1000 watt oven).100_1059
  4. *Remove roasted hazelnuts from the oven and allow to cool. Place them on a clean kitchen towel, fold it over onto the hazelnuts, and rub to remove the skins. They should slip off easily.
  5. Take one cup (1/2 pound) of the cooled hazelnuts and place in the container of your Vitamix (or food processor). Turn it on Variable Speed 1, gradually increasing to 10 then High Speed. Process for thirty seconds to one minute or until the nuts become butter (You may need to stop once and use a spatula to scrape the nut mixture from the sides). Note: This step takes about 5 minutes in a food processor.
  6. Carefully pour the heated cocoa mixture into the Vitamix container with the hazelnut butter. Process on Variable Speed 5 for about five seconds or until well blended.
  7. Pour into glass jars

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To be on the safe side, store your spread in the refrigerator. My recipe contains no additives to make it shelf-stable. Once you make this, you can add your own touches. If it’s not sweet enough, try adding additional stevia extract or sweeteners of your choice.

One final word: Don’t make  hazelnut chocolate spread to save money. Homemade is better, but quality ingredients carry a higher price tag. I ordered organic hazelnuts and shopped for local honey. I doubt I saved a penny over Nutella® from the supermarket, but I love having total control over my ingredients. Enjoy!

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Filed under condiments, Healthful Eating, snacks

BLUEBERRIES!

This weekend we attended a blueberry festival in a little town in Florida, where we sampled a variety of products made with blueberries. It inspired me to create a blueberry recipe for a smoothie. Although it’s easier in a Vitamix, the food processor or blender will work (any appliance that purees). This one is a healthful breakfast for two, and very delicious. Enjoy!

RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or yogurt or soy milk)
  • 1 orange, quartered and peeled
  • ½ banana, peeled
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup frozen peaches

Directions:

  • Add all ingredients in order listed to the Vitamix container.
  • Secure lid. Turn on Variable Speed 1, gradually increasing to 10 then High.
  • Blend for approximately one minute. Use tamper to move food into blades if necessary. (if mixture is too thick, thin with a Tbsp. of water)
  • Turn off Vitamix, remove container, then pour into two glasses.

Yield: 2 servings

Note: Drink through a straw. Blueberries stain!

Process until smooth.

Process until smooth.

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Filed under berries, Healthful Eating, Smoothies, snacks, Yogurt

Oatmeal Chillers

It’s summer. As much as I love oatmeal, I save warm cereal for cold mornings. I don’t want hot oatmeal for breakfast when it’s 80°. Recently I read a blog post (the Yummy Life) about refrigerated oatmeal. I liked the idea, experimented with my own recipes, and came up with a couple of favorites. I’m not sure how it works, but it does. Perhaps the acidophilus in the yogurt “cooks” the oatmeal. Anyway, it’s a nutritious, easy breakfast, especially for those on the go.

Ingredients for making an oatmeal chiller.

RECIPES

Oatmeal Chillers

Basic ingredients:

  • ¼ cup oatmeal (not instant or quick cooking)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup Greek style yogurt
  • 1 tsp. ground flax seeds, ground nuts, or wheat germ
  • 1 Tbsp. sweetener (your choice)
  • ¼ cup chopped fruit, berries, or applesauce

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients except the fruit to a 1 cup glass jar.
  2. Shake jar to combine.
  3. Stir in fruit, seal, and refrigerate overnight.

Variations of fruit, sweeteners, or seasonings:

Cherry Vanilla Oatmeal Chiller

Cherry Vanilla Oatmeal Chiller

Use 1 Tbsp. honey for the sweetener, add ½ tsp. vanilla extract, and combine with milk, yogurt, oats, etc. Take 8 frozen cherries, half, and stir in the mixture. Refrigerate overnight. Stir again before eating.

Maple Walnut Applesauce Oatmeal Chiller

Use 1 Tbsp. real maple syrup for sweetner, add a pinch of apple pie spice (or ¼ tsp. cinnamon), and chopped walnuts. Combine then stir in ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce.

Chocolate Hazelnut Oatmeal Chiller

Reduce sweetener to 1 tsp. sugar or omit. Stir in 2 Tbsp. Nutella® hazelnut spread. The Nutella® will be stiff and require a lot of stirring.

Peanutty Oatmeal Chiller

Same as the Hazelnut except use all-natural peanut butter instead of the Nutella®. Add a sprinkle of peanuts.

Strawberry Preserves Oatmeal Chiller

Reduce sweetener to 1 tsp. or eliminate (taste test and add before serving). Stir in 3 Tbsp. strawberry (or your choice) preserves.

I found ½ pint Mason jars work well. If you get the wide mouth jars, you can buy the plastic screw-on lids. (Save the two-piece rings and seals for canning.)

Experiment with other fruits and flavor combinations. I’m hooked, and soon you will be, too.

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Filed under fruit, Healthful Eating, oatmeal, Recipes, snacks, Yogurt

A Very Berry Shake

Very Berry Shake

It’s hot. We’re in the midst of summer, a time when we love a frozen treat. You can burn fuel driving to the local ice cream shoppe, spend several dollars for a milk shake, and return home feeling guilty for overindulging on sugar and fat. Or you can save time, money and calories by making your own milk shake. Here’s a recipe I make in my Vitamix.

RECIPE

Berry Shake

Ingredients:

  •  1 cup 1% or skim milk
  • ½ cup frozen cherries
  • ¼ cup frozen berries medley (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries)
  • ¼ cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 prune for added natural sweetness (optional)

Directions:

  • Add all ingredients to the Vitamix. Secure lid but leave the plug out to insert the tamper.
  • Run the Vitamix on Variable Speed 1, gradually stepping up to 10 then High. Use the tamper to push the frozen fruit into the blades.
  • Run until the mixture is smooth but do not overprocess. When the consistency resembles a milk shake (about 1 minute), stop the Vitamix, remove container, and pour into a glass. Enjoy!

Yield: 1 large or 2 small shakes

Variation: Pour extra mixture into molds to make frozen pops.

If you make this for the kids, you don’t have to tell them it’s good for them. Using whole fruit and milk, you have a delicious treat that contains vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. The milk adds calcium. Treat yourself and your family guilt-free!

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Filed under desserts, fruit, Healthful Eating, Recipes, Smoothies, snacks

Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwich?

I didn’t realize today is National Peanut Butter Day. In honor of this holiday, I made my own peanut butter (using my Vitamix, of course. Do not try this with a regular blender or you’ll burn up the motor).

The following slide show demonstrates making one cup of fresh, all natural peanut butter. However, the process works better with two or even three cups at a time. This recipe makes two cups.

RECIPE

Fresh ground peanut butter

Ingredients:

2 cups roasted peanuts

Directions:

  1. Place all peanuts into the Vitamix container.
  2. Set Vitamix at Variable Speed 1 and turn on.
  3. Gradually increase speed to 10 then switch to high. Run for approximately 1 minute.
  4. Turn off machine and check contents. You may need to scrape the walls of the container with a spatula.
  5. Repeat steps 2 and 3. When the sound of the motor changes as if laboring, stop.
  6. Remove the Vitamix container from the base and scrape (using a spatula) out all peanut butter into a container for storage.

Peanut butter keeps in the refrigerator for a week, although it probably won’t be around that long! After you taste fresh peanut butter, you won’t enjoy the commercial jars of peanut butter that contain additives.

I enjoy spreading the peanut butter on a toasted slice of whole grain bread. I drizzle with honey. Nutritious and yummy! Try it and see.

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Filed under Healthful Eating, snacks