26 Sep

Triple Chocolate Raspberry Pizza

Happy Friday everyone!

I am so happy the weekend is here and happy that I get to share this amazing recipe with you. I made this a couple weeks ago for a Miss America watch party with my mom, Grandma, sister and Aunt. Yes, you heard that right. A Miss America watch party. Before you make fun of us, be sure to know that we watch it for the laughs.

My mom asked us all to bring a dessert. I was trying to decide between peanut butter cookies or Skinny Taste’s Fruit Pizza, which I have made several times and it’s always a hit. I made it the last time we had a family get together and everyone loved it. I decided to make the fruit pizza again, but while I was getting ready to go to the grocery store a great idea hit me. What if I made it chocolate??

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Then this delicious creation was made. It is SO good, let me tell you. It was just my luck that raspberries were on sale at Sprouts for 99 cents a pint!

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This is the perfect combination of chocolate, cream cheese, raspberries and a chocolate crunch drizzle. The milk chocolate chips in the cookie base really turn it up a notch. My family gobbled these up. I had some leftover and brought them home to Nick and we ate them for dessert for a couple days.

Just imagine biting into these rich chocolate chip cookies with vanilla cream cheese frosting, topped with fresh raspberries and hardened chocolate drizzle. *drool*

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Here’s the adapted recipe! Be sure to check out Skinny Taste’s original recipe as well, it’s amazing!

raspberry pizza Triple Chocolate Raspberry Pizza
Triple Chocolate Raspberry Pizza
raspberry pizza Triple Chocolate Raspberry Pizza
Yields 30
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups all purpose flour
  2. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  3. 1/4 tsp salt
  4. 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  5. 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  6. 2/3 cup brown sugar, unpacked
  7. 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
  8. 2 large egg whites
  9. 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  10. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  11. 2/3 cup milk chocolate chips
For the Frosting
  1. 8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
  2. 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla
To Assemble
  1. 2 half pints of raspberries
  2. 2 blocks of semi-sweet baker's chocolate, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Spray a large baking sheet (9x13) with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the white sugar, brown sugar, melted butter, egg whites, applesauce and vanilla until fluffy.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients slowly until mixed thoroughly. Add a drop or two of water if the batter looks crumbly. It should be smooth. Fold in the milk chocolate chips.
  5. Spread the batter onto the baking sheet into a thin layer. Try to cover the entire baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, until the edges are golden. Let cool on wire rack.
  7. In another bowl, use a beater to mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla.
  8. Once cool, cut the cookie into desired amount of pieces.
  9. Spread the frosting onto the middle of each cookie slice. Put 3-4 raspberries on each cookie. Drizzle the melted semi sweet baker's chocolate onto each cookie.
  10. Let cool in the fridge before serving!
Adapted from Skinny Taste
Adapted from Skinny Taste
Zen & Spice http://www.zenandspice.com/
24 Sep

Importance of Vitamin D: Could You Be Deficient?

I was actually surprised to learn last year that I was mildly deficient in vitamin D. I was getting a routine physical at the doctor and he decided to pull a lab value for me. The normal range is 30.0 to 74.0 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), and I fell at 20ng/mL! I now take 1,000 IU of vitamin D supplements per day, plus extra calcium and my level has come back to normal.

If you tend to stay out of the sun, have milk intolerance or allergies, or follow a strict vegan diet, you may be at risk for a vitamin D deficiency. A diet without animal based products such as fish and fish oils, egg yolks, cheese, and milk can lead to a deficiency.

sun Importance of Vitamin D: Could You Be Deficient?

Why do we need vitamin D?

Vitamin D is so important for bone health, by helping our bodies absorb calcium. A vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteoporosis or osteomalacia (bone softening).

There have also been some recent studies that have shown that a vitamin D deficiency increases your risk for type 1 diabetes, muscle and bone pain, and even certain types of cancers. It also increases your risk for heart attacks, arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Vitamin D also has a role in reducing blood pressure. Recent studies have also shown that a low level of vitamin D can be associated with depression and anxiety.

Vitamin D is so important for our body that we actually make it ourselves with sun exposure. In the US, only people who live in the southern US get enough sunlight for vitamin D production throughout the year. Those who work inside all day are also at risk for a deficiency.

Which blood test can determine if I’m deficient?

Your doctor can order a test for 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-ODH). Those with a level of 12-20 ng/mL are at risk for a vitamin D deficiency. The ideal level range is between 30 – 74 ng/mL.

How much vitamin D do we need?

If you get no vitamin D from the sun, and you get adequate amounts of calcium, the Institute of Medicine recommends getting 600 IU/day of vitamin D from diet or supplements for people 9-70 years of age. The Vitamin D Council recommends an intake of 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily and more if they don’t get any sun exposure. Be careful with over supplementation however. Too much can cause a high blood calcium level, which results in nausea, constipation, confusion, abnormal heart rhythm and even kidney stones.

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How can I get more vitamin D?

Being outside for about thirty minutes, twice a week without sunscreen, should allow your body to produce enough vitamin D. But too much sun exposure without protection increases your risk of skin cancer. It’s probably better to get vitamin D from food or supplements.

 Importance of Vitamin D: Could You Be Deficient?

Surprisingly few foods actually contain vitamin D naturally, because our bodies are meant to absorb it through the skin. But once your body has enough, it doesn’t matter if you get it through your skin or stomach. Salmon, mackerel and mushrooms are great sources. Other sources include tuna, sardines, milk and yogurt fortified with vitamin D, egg yolks and cheese. Nearly all milk and orange juice in the U.S. is fortified with vitamin D.

If you want to use a supplement, the recommended form is vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol. This is the natural form that your body makes from sunlight.

 

Do you take vitamin D supplements?

22 Sep

{Recipe Redux} Guide to Dehydrating Herbs + Homemade Italian Seasoning

Happy Monday everyone! It’s that time again for another Recipe Redux!

This month’s theme: 

Get Your Dehydrator On

Whether it’s extra garden bounty or a sale at the supermarket – dehydrating food is a budget-friendly way to stock up for later. You can use a food dehydrator, a low slow oven, or natural sunshine to preserve natural healthfulness. Show us how you like to dehydrate, or a healthy recipe for how you enjoy using dehydrated fruits, veggies or other bounty.

Nick’s parents actually bought him a dehydrator a couple years ago for Christmas. We’ve used it several times to make snacks such as dried apples, kale chips, and dried pineapple. I’ve recently started to use it for dehydrating herbs. Usually, I just hang them up in bundles under my cabinets (see my tutorial for How To Dry Your Herbs Using Corkboard), but I was recently gifted a huge amount of basil from my mom’s garden and it wouldn’t fit under my cabinets. I resorted to using the food dehydrator, and it worked wonderfully! My herbs were completely dried within a few hours, and they ground up far more easily than when they’re hung dry.

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18 Sep

The Annoying Roommate

Blame2 The Annoying Roommate
Imagine that you have a roommate.

Imagine that you are sitting down on the couch with this roommate, watching TV. While you’re trying to enjoy the show, she’s talking to herself:

“Did you remember to shut the garage door? You better go check. Not now, I’ll do it later. I want to finish watching the show. No, do it now. You’ll risk getting broken into.”

You sit in shock, watching all of this. Your roommate then launches into another dispute:

“I’m starving. I want to order some Chinese food. No, you can’t order out, it’s too expensive. But I’m hungry and craving Chinese. When will I eat?”

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