Double Chocolate Heaven!

Sometimes, you just need a little chocolate to make you smile, even for just a few minutes…. Well, yesterday I needed a whole lot of chocolate so I made these delicious, sweet, moist DOUBLE CHOCOLATE MUFFINS!

If you need a little bit of chocolate heaven, go out and get all of these ingredients and make these yummy muffins. Trust me, you will thank me as you devour them right out of the oven!

Double Chocolate Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1½ cups brewed hot decaf organic coffee
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1½ cups organic sugar
  • 1½ cups cocoa powder (Ghiradelli Double Chocolate)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 large organic eggs
  • 1½ cups organic buttermilk
  • ¾ cup safflower oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In small bowl, mix 3oz. chocolate chips with hot coffee until melted.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and remaining chocolate chips.
  4. In separate bowl, whisk eggs until creamy. Add buttermilk, safflower oil, vanilla extract and melted chocolate/coffee mixture.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into flour mixture and stir just until combined. DO NOT OVER MIX! Spoon batter into muffin cups.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Yields 18 standard muffins.

GRADE: A+++

Delicious, Moist, Sweet Muffins! I’m going to go eat another one right now!

Food Challenge #5: Pumpkin Pecan Scones

Oh my…. these Pumpkin Pecan Scones are DELISH. Really, they are just a perfect blend of sweetness and crunchiness.

Let me tell you the story. I’ve been experimenting A LOT with pureed pumpkin. I’ve made ravioli, muffins, bread, pie, cheesecake, waffles etc. Well, it’s pumpkin season and one of my classes at the library was all about pumpkins… so I wanted to get creative. Anyway, a couple weeks back, while I was shopping at Whole Foods, I picked up a Pumpkin Pecan Scone. I loved it and decided that I just had to learn how to make it. As many of you know or have learned about me, is that I love to eat scones, muffins and breads. They are “healthier” then other sweet treats, since I make them low in sugar and substitute half the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour, yet give that sweet satisfaction. Scones have become one of my favorites and I have learned how to make a few different varieties, even though the Maple Oatmeal Scone that started my whole “love of scones” is still my favorite, until today!

These pumpkin scones top the chart. You just have to try and make them. I rate them EXCEPTIONAL!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup organic brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup unsalted organic butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup organic buttermilk
  • ½ cup organic pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk for top of scones

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in large bowl: flour, brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Cut butter into small cubes and add to flour mixture. Combine with a pastry blender or your hands until you have a crumbly mixture.
  4. In separate bowl, whisk all wet ingredients: buttermilk, pumpkin puree and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients and combine until moistened.
  5. On flour surface, form dough into square shape about 6” wide. Cut dough into triangles and place on parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. In small dish, whisk egg yolk with a dash of water or milk. Brush tops of scones with egg wash and sprinkle with organic sugar.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Grade: A+

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Food Challenge #4: Italian Wedding Soup

One of our recipes at the Arts & Imagination class today was Italian Wedding Soup. It was a big hit with the kids so I’d thought I’d share the recipe with you so you can try it at home with your kids. For all of you that are vegetarians, you can skip on the turkey meatballs or substitute with vegetarian meatballs. So, give it a try and let me know what you think! It is a perfect, hearty and nutritious meal for any cold day!

Also, don’t forget you can add the remainder of a block of parmesan cheese for extra flavor! I freshly grate the parmesan cheese for our meals and save the end of the block in the freezer to throw into all of my soups. Just my own little trick to kick it up a notch.

Italian Wedding Soup

Ingredients:

Meatballs:

  • 1 lb. all-natural ground turkey
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, minced
  • ½ cup fresh basil, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten

Soup:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 organic carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 organic celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 2 (32oz) containers organic chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups organic crushed tomatoes
  • 10 oz. frozen organic spinach, thawed
  • ½ lb. small pasta such as ditalini
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

Instructions:

  1. To make meatballs, combine all ingredients in large bowl and mix with your hands until combined well.
  2. Scoop one tablespoon of turkey mixture into the palm of your hand and roll into mini-size meatballs.
  3. In sauté pan, cook meatballs in olive oil until slightly browned on all sides. Set aside.
  4. To make soup, cover bottom of large pot with olive oil and sauté onion, carrots, celery and garlic for 5-10 minutes or until softened.
  5. Add cannellini beans, chicken broth, crushed tomatoes and block of parmesan cheese, if using. Bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat to medium and add spinach, pasta and reserved turkey meatballs to soup. Season with salt, pepper and oregano and simmer for 20 minutes or until fully cooked. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Grade: A

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Food Challenge #3: Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Just in time for the Fall season… this Apple Cider Vinaigrette salad dressing is very light and very tasty on a mixed green salad. Plus, it is super easy to make and you can store it in a glass jar and keep it in your cupboard for weeks, if it lasts that long. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup safflower or canola oil

Instructions:

  1. In glass jar, combine apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, sugar, salt, pepper and oregano. Close top of jar and mix well.
  2. Add olive oil and safflower oil and shake vigorously.
  3. Serve over Organic Spring Mix.

Grade: A

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Prize

The goal of the Food Jules Cookbook Challenge is to compile an AMAZING group of recipes that are guaranteed to be delicious and nutritious so I need 100% participation. Therefore, I’ve decided to give away a PRIZE to everyone that completes this challenge with me. Here are the rules:

1. You have to test the recipe EXACTLY as it is written and provide your feedback along with your own recommendations and grade – needs more moisture, needs more sweetness, it’s perfect etc. This will allow all us to ensure the recipe is accurate.

Feedback from your children is an added PLUS.

2. The recipe should be tested within one week of the post. It would be great if a bunch of us tested the recipe at the same time and were able to perfect it together. That is what I call TEAM WORK!

That’s it, just two simple rules. I know you can do it! I will post a challenge once or twice a week, so not to overwhelm all of us with recipes.

At the end of the challenge, we will have created a NEW, DELICIOUS and NUTRITIOUS cookbook for all of us and we will have done it TOGETHER. So, let’s make this happen! Maybe, one day it will get published in some format and all of your names will appear in the list of credits. If not, then at least we all have a new Cookbook Bible on our bookshelf and we won’t get bored of the same old recipes.

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you about the prize… I’ll keep that a secret for a little while. Who’s in it with me?

Challenge #2: Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

Well, I was going to post recipes once a week for our Food Jules Cookbook Challenge, but OMG…. this Broccoli and Cheddar Soup is so DELICIOUS that I had to post it for everyone today!!!! I have to give the credit to my daughter, Lilliana. She saw the recipe on the cover of the Food Network magazine and asked me to make it for dinner. Well, it is so very creamy and so very yummy. You don’t even need to add the cheese at the end, that’s how creamy it is (but we added it for extra nutrition and extra deliciousness). The kids already devoured it and it’s not even dinner time!

Here’s my suggestion. Run out to the grocery store right now and make it tonight for dinner. Trust me you will be thanking me tomorrow!

Broccoli and Cheddar Soup (photo to come later)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tblsp unsalted organic butter
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 organic celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 organic carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 medium organic potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large broccoli crowns
  • 1 (32oz) organic chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup organic half and half
  • 1 cup organic cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

  1.  Heat olive oil and butter in large pot. Add onion, celery and carrots and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes and 1 broccoli crown, chopped, and cook for another 5 minutes.
  2. Add chicken broth and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  3. Using a hand blender, puree until smooth. Add half and half and other broccoli crown, finely chopped (you just want to see small pieces of broccoli in the soup) and cook for 10 minutes until broccoli is soft.
  4. If soup is too thick, add more half and half. Add cheddar cheese and mix well.

Grade: A

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Challenge #1: Pumpkin Waffles

On Thursday, we made our first recipe as part of our Food Jules Cookbook Challenge. It is a NEW recipe and it is easy and delicious, just in time for the Fall season: Pumpkin Waffles.

Pumpkin Waffles

The pureed pumpkin in these waffles makes them moist, sweet and super yummy, even without butter or maple syrup! The Cerrato family (including my two nieces) give this recipe a thumbs up. Make it with your kids for breakfast or as a dinner alternative.

Pumpkin Waffles

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup organic sugar
  • 1 tblsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups organic milk
  • 4 tblsp unsalted organic butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin (canned or fresh)
  1. Preheat waffle iron. In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  2. In separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, butter and pumpkin. Pour wet ingredients with the flour mixture, just until combined.
  3. Slightly butter waffle iron and pour batter in center of each section.
  4. Cook waffles for 3-5 minutes or until light brown. Enjoy with or without butter and pure maple syrup.

Grade: A

Join us in our Cookbook Challenge and send us your grade!