Dark Cherry and Pistachio Chocolate Bark

Dark Cherry and Pistachio Chocolate Bark from www.thesoutherninstitute.com

I love good, dark chocolate. This wasn’t always the case! It has been an acquired taste for me, but I’m glad that I’ve come around. Lately I’ve started experimenting with making my own chocolate bark with healthy mix-ins. We all know that dark chocolate is good for us. It’s the best excuse for eating it, am I right? Did you know that a 100 gram bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains 11 grams of fiber, 67% of the RDA for Iron, 58% of the RDA for Magnesium, 89% of the RDA for Copper, 98% of the RDA for Manganese, and plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium? (source) You’re doing well just eating it plain, aren’t you? But add in a couple of delicious fruits and nuts and you’re upping the ante!

I chose dried dark cherries and pistachios mainly because I thought that they’d taste amazing together, and I was right! They just so happen to have their own health benefits too!

Dried Dark Cherries
Dried dark cherries are a great source of copper! Our bodies need copper to help them produce collagen, which helps keep our tissues strong and protects us from free radicals. They also contain vitamin C!

Pistachios
These tasty nuts are full of potassium and vitamin K. They help control body weight and lower risk for heart related problems. A 1 ounce serving also provides you with 25 percent of the daily value for vitamin B-6, 15 percent of the daily value for thiamine and phosphorus and 10 percent of the daily value for magnesium. (source)

Dark Cherry and Pistachio Chocolate Bark from www.thesoutherninstitute.com

All that I did was melt a bar or so (I may have eaten a piece or two along the way) of dark chocolate in a double broiler. While it was melting I chopped the dried cherries and shelled pistachios. When the chocolate had melted I removed it from the heat and mixed in the cherries and nuts. I then poured the melted chocolate onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, sprinkled it with more of the chopped cherries and nuts, and left it to cool and harden. Once the chocolate had hardened I broke it into pieces.

Dark Cherry and Pistachio Chocolate Bark from www.thesoutherninstitute.com

The combination of cherries and pistachios was just as dreamy as I hoped it would be! You get the salty and sweet flavors that always pair so amazingly together, making it just about the perfect chocolate treat! You really must try it! If you don’t like one or the other of those mix-ins, then you can get creative and try another. You really can’t go wrong when it comes to chocolate, right? Have fun and enjoy!

Rhubarb Crunch from Emily at It Bakes Me Happy.

Happy Friday, everyone!  It is my pleasure to share this space today with Emily from the blog It Bakes Me Happy.  Emily had linked up with the Creative Me Linky Party and her photos were so beautiful that I just had to pop over and see the rest of her blog.  It Bakes Me Happy is a great blog where you’ll find some of the most delicious looking recipes, like Monster Brownies, Angel Food Cupcakes, and Chocolate Cherry Loaf.  Are you drooling yet?  Today Emily is treating us to one of her favorite family recipes.  Take it away, Emily!
 
I love to share family recipes, to me there is something so special about passing on a recipe; most importantly the feeling that I have for a specific one. Today I am sharing with you one of my absolute favorite recipes of my childhood, Rhubarb Crunch. I had two very hard working parents growing up and so incidentally I don’t have those memories of fresh baked goodies after school, that some of you might have. But this recipe is one in particular I can remember my mother making on Sunday evenings or for special occasions and she passed it on to me when I left for college. Incidentally we have both misplaced the original recipe and so this is my recreation of the family classic. I just love the sweet and tangy flavors of this crisp, we always ate it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. So next time you are in the mood for a dessert a little out of the ordinary, check the freezer section of your local grocery store for some rhubarb (or if you’re lucky enough for it to be in season the produce department). I hope you’ll enjoy, happy baking!

 

 

Ingredients:

8 oz rhubarb, chopped (I used frozen)

1 Tbs flour

1 Tbs corn starch

1 Tbs sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 Tbs butter, diced

For the topping:

1/2 c oats, old fashioned

1 1/2 Tbs sugar

1 1/2 Tbs brown sugar

1 Tbs flour

2 Tbs butter

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375º and prepare a small baking dish (5″x7″) with cooking spray; set aside. In a medium sized bowl add the rhubarb, flour, corn starch, sugar and cinnamon; toss to coat. Spread the rhubarb mixture evenly over the bottom of the baking pan and dot with the 1/2 Tbs butter. In a small bowl combine the oats, sugars and flour, cut in the butter with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Spread the topping mixture over the rhubarb and bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until bubbly and golden on top. Carefully remove from the oven to cool 8-10 minutes, serve warm.

Yields 4 servings

Frozen Chicken Soup.

 

Hello everyone! It’s Tiffany from The Nesting Project here to address an important issue in the month of January and during flu season: homemade chicken soup.  The unfortunate thing about homemade chicken soup is that when you need it your are usually least likely to feel like making it. So I’m going to share a process that I’ve come up with that helps me make sure I always have some on hand for my family or even care packages for friends who end up needing a little extra food TLC.

One of my favorite things to freeze soups and purees in is Mason jars. While I love canning I rarely need to do that when I can just stick it in the freezer. I did this for all the baby food I made for my daughter this year. I would just freeze it in Mason jars and then defrost it one at a time. The trick to doing this is make sure you leave room at the top (I leave about an inch). Another good thing about this is that when I make soups I always have so much left over and we rarely finish it all even when I try. So instead of having to throw it away I fill up Mason jars and then we have it for another meal the next week. Another way I use this? Tomato sauce. I make a large batch and fill up Mason jars and I have fresh tomato sauce all month.

Now back to my chicken soup. Whenever I roast a chicken or during a busy week get a rotisserie chicken I never throw away the bones. Usually there is plenty of bits of chicken left that make the perfect addition for chicken soup. To make this less time consuming I add chicken stock to it and the pasta into the soup instead of cooking it before. Everything goes in the pot and simmers for a couple of hours and then I have chicken soup for dinner or in mason jars as insurance against a cold.

It’s definitely one of those pantry staples you should try to have on hand for you or your loved ones.

 

Chicken Soup

Bones from 1 leftover roasted chicken

3 medium sliced carrots

3 medium stalks of celery chopped

1/2 of a medium onion chopped

4 cloves of garlic minced

6 cups water

6 cups chicken stock

6 oz Rotini pasta (roughly 1/2 a box)

2 tbsp of olive oil

2 tbsp of Italian seasoning

Salt and pepper to taste

 

In a stockpot add the olive oil, onion and garlic and cook on medium-high until translucent. Add the celery and carrots and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and water. Then add the chicken bones along with the Italian Season. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 1.5 to 2 hours. During the last 30 minutes take out the bones and clean any chicken meat off and put into the soup. Then add the pasta and finish cooking until it’s al dente.

Let cool and put into sterilized Mason jars while leaving at least an inch at the top. Add the tops and put in freezer.