Tag Archives: chocolate

Chocolate Zucchini Protein Smoothie Bowl

2 Aug

A healthy smoothie is usually the best way to make a comeback from a rather unhealthy weekend.

Chris and I at GermanFest!

Every year, my family volunteers to bartend at Germanfest – Milwaukee’s kickoff to Oktoberfest. We pour beer, crack jokes, sing along to live polka bands, and have a great time. Oh, and we tend to drink a lot. And if you ever attend festivals, you know the food isn’t all that healthy either.

Chocolate Zucchini Protein Smoothie Bowl | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

So, after a pretty unhealthy weekend, I needed something healthy, hearty and full of goodness to get me back on track.

This chocolate zucchini protein bowl did the just the trick! It tastes like dessert, is packed with protein, topped with healthy fats, and naturally sweetened with an overripe banana.

Chocolate Zucchini Protein Smoothie Bowl | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Chocolate Zucchini Protein Bowl

Serves 1

  • 1/2 C non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 small zucchini, roughly chopped
  • 1 scoop chocolate vegan protein powder
  • 1/4 C old-fashioned oats
  • Dash cinnamon
  • 1 frozen overripe banana
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp pepitas
  • Toppings: shredded coconut, hemp seeds, cacao nibs

Puree all ingredients in your blender. Pour into a bowl and top with shredded coconut, hemp seeds, cacao nibs, or anything your heart desires!

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Black Bean Smoothie 

11 Jul

Over the past few years, I’ve learned to love a variety of  vegetables, fruits, grains and preparations. As a result, my smoothies are often rather interesting. Spinach, kale, peas, chia seeds, rhubarb, cucumbers, celery, and now: black beans.

Yep, black beans in a smoothie! When combined with cocoa powder, strawberries, frozen banana, milk, and a few other ingredients, black beans make for the perfect creamy base to a chocolate-flavored smoothie. They’re full of protein and fiber, so you don’t even need to add protein powder.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Black Bean Smoothie | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Not sold yet? Give it a shot – I promise you’ll love this breakfast drink! It’s naturally sweet, and will taste so much like dessert, that you’ll forget you added the legumes 🙂

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Black Bean Smoothie, adapted from the Never Homemaker

Makes 1 smoothie

  • 1 C non-dairy milk
  • 2/3 C black beans, rinsed extremely well
  • 5 large, whole strawberries
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 frozen, sliced banana
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Blend all ingredients together until creamy and smooth. Pour into your favorite smoothie glass and garnish with a strawberry, shredded coconut, additional chia seeds, or your favorite nut!

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Black Bean Smoothie | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Linking up with Running on Happy & The Fit Foodie Mama, and Confessions of a Mother Runner & A Whisk and Two Wands for #MeatlessMonday! 

Belgian Ale Banana Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting

3 May

The word is getting out! Yep – I love to bake, and it’s even more fun when those baked goods are packed with booze 😉 This past weekend, my friend recommended my cupcakes for a joint bachelorette & birthday party. The bride-to-be wanted to surprise her sister, who was celebrating a birthday, with beer-infused cupcakes.

As soon as I learned that the birthday girl’s favorite beer is the Belgian Tripel style, I knew what I had to do: bake La Fin Du Monde into a cupcake and smother it with creamy, dreamy dark chocolate ganache frosting and a sprinkling of pink sea salt. For the non-beer lovers out there, La Fin Du Monde is a Belgian ale from Canadian brewery Unibroue. It’s effervescent, sweet, banana-y, clove-y and rather high in alcohol content. Certainly an obvious choice to bake into, and soak onto, cupcakes!

Belgian Ale Banana Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

With that flavor profile in mind, I packed these treats with fresh bananas and ground clove. I view the frosting almost as a pairing – like what you’d get at a good beer bar. And what goes better with banana than dark chocolate? So of course, I had to frost these cakes with my simple yet indulgent dark chocolate ganache frosting. Whipped to perfection, this frosting is piped on and sprinkled lightly with sea salt, to bring out the natural sweetness of the chocolate.

Belgian Ale Banana Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

The end result? Let’s just say I could SMELL the beer in these goodies as they baked in the oven. The cakes are sweet, with hints of banana and clove, and you can absolutely taste the inclusion of the beer. Especially because I employ the “poke and soak” method post-baking: poke each cupcake with a skewer or chopstick and soak 1/2 tsp beer right on top. It really provides that extra punch, which is just to die for. Which is good, considering that La Fin Du Monde is French for “end of the world.”

Buy a bottle of Belgian ale, bake these cupcakes, and impress everyone at your next party!

Belgian Ale Banana Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Makes 24 cupcakes

Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting:

  • 1-1/4 C heavy whipping cream
  • 15 oz dark baking chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp flaked sea salt

Heat heavy cream in a pan on medium heat until it comes to a boil.

Remove from heat and stir in the chopped baking chocolate until smooth. Stir in the vanilla.

Transfer the chocolate to the bowl of your stand mixer and allow to cool in the refrigerator for one hour. Bake the cupcakes while this chills.

Belgian Ale Banana Cupcakes:

  • ¾ C butter, room temperature
  • 1 C white sugar
  • ¾ C brown sugar
  • 2-1/2 C flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C La Fin du Monde Belgian Tripel beer + more to soak
  • ¼ C milk
  • 2 medium bananas

Preheat oven to 350. Line two muffin tins with paper liners.

Beat butter with sugars until creamy.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and ground clove.

In another bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the eggs with vanilla, beer, milk, and mashed bananas.

Alternate adding the dry and the wet ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture. Beat until just combined.

Scoop batter into 24 lined muffin tins.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325 and bake for 18-23 minutes, rotating the tins halfway through baking. Let cool completely before frosting. TIP: speed this up by popping the cupcakes, still in the baking tins, straight into the freezer for 15 minutes.

Poke four holes into the top of each cupcake using a skewer or chopstick. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon additional beer on top and allow to soak in.

While the cupcakes cool and soak, whip up the ganache frosting.

Use the paddle attachment with your stand mixer and beat the ganache for 5 minutes on medium speed, or until it starts to create stiff peaks. Scoop the whipped ganache into a piping bag fitted with a tip of your choice. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with flaked sea salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve, allowing 30 minutes out of the fridge before enjoying.

Belgian Ale Banana Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Energy Ball Recipe Roundup and a Foot Compression Sleeve Review

21 Apr

Last month was my mom’s birthday, and given that she’s into all things health and fitness these days, I couldn’t get away with gifting her a box of chocolates or a bottle of booze (because I did that last year!). Instead, I made her a variety box of energy balls. She teaches up to 6 Zumba classes a week, on top of her day job and being a property owner and landlady. So I know energy is extremely valuable to her. Rather than store-bought options, I wanted to make treats that are super healthy, full of natural and real ingredients, and homemade, because what mom doesn’t like something their kid made for her!

The trip to the store to make these was surely a heavy one – peanut butter, dried fruits, nuts, coconut, cocoa powder, extracts, and TONS of dates – went into these energy balls. Luckily, there were a few too many to fit in the box for her, so I got to keep some behind for my own enjoyment! And because they’re so tasty, I wanted to share this roundup of energy balls with all of you. These vary in type: I wanted a mixture of flavors that spanned chocolatey, fruity, nutty, and salty. All you need are a few ingredients for each of them, a strong food processor, and some patience! Because these use real food, you can keep them in the fridge up to a week, or do what I have: store them in the freezer, and take out one or two a day to thaw for the next day’s refueling. Make a big batch and you’re good for a whole month!

Energy Ball Recipe Roundup | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Pina Colada Energy Balls – these taste just the drink! I dare you not to eat the “batter” straight from the bowl. But trust me, their flavor only improves over time. Two things I did differently:  replaced the macadamia nuts with cashews, and added 1/4 tsp coconut extract.

Peanut Butter, Coconut & Chocolate Chip Balls – this type of energy ball is one of my favorites, mostly because they are held together with peanut butter 🙂 Instead of peanuts, I used mini chocolate chips for extra sweetness.

Lemonade Protein Balls – I love how juicy these balls are 😉 they’re bursting with lemon flavor, so it’s hard to eat just one. I used coconut oil instead of coconut butter, and added 1/4 tsp lemon extract to up the lemony goodness.

Thin Mint Protein Balls – It’s hard to imagine a protein ball that tastes like a favorite Girl Scout cookie, but this one nails it! Make them now – you won’t regret it.

Fig Newton Balls – These are the simplest of the lot, made with just walnuts and dried figs! And yeah, they totally taste like the classic cookie 🙂

Pumpkin Pie Energy Balls – These balls taste like a bite of autumn, but are perfect for any time of year. They use real pumpkin puree, which is pretty awesome. Instead of pumpkin seeds, I used chopped almonds.

In line with the healthy theme, I wanted to share with you a review of Plantar Fasciitis Compression Foot Sleeves that SLS3 recently sent me! I’m still new to compression gear, but I already know these foot sleeves are pretty great. I’ve realized that when lacing up my running shoes, I LOVE the feeling of the tight shoes on my feet. That pressure is actually comforting. Of course, after a long run, all I want to do is kick off my shoes and peel off my socks, to let my feet be free. But as soon as I’m out of the shower, that desire for compression returns. I pull on these compression foot sleeves and feel instant relief.

foot sleeve

There are many more benefits to these sleeves, too:

  • They come in a range of sizes, so whether you have big or small feet, you’re all set! And trust me: I have big feet, and these fit me like a glass slipper….or what Cinderella surely would’ve preferred to her glass slippers! 
  • Whether you’re heavy into sports or just on your feet a lot, these sleeves will reduce muscle fatigue.
  • Medical professionals designed the sleeves, so they are perfect for foot and ankle support, which helps stimulate the healing process and increase blood flow to speed up recovery. 
  • They’re actually comfortable! I’ve worn them alone, under socks, and even with socks and shoes to leave the house. The material is thin enough that they aren’t bulky at all.
  • The fabric is moisture wicking and breathable – exactly what your tired feet need! You’ll stay dry and oder free 🙂 

Interested in owning a pair? They’re currently discounted 50%, so grab some for just $19.90 through Amazon (and on Prime, too!), and feel the relief!

foot sleeve 2

I received a pair of Plantar Fasciitis Compression Foot Sleeves from SLS3 to review and no additional compensation for this post. All opinions are my own!

Chocolate Porter Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream and Salted Porter Caramel Drizzle

14 Mar

This weekend, I had the honor of baking for the one-year anniversary party of Girls Pint OutMilwaukee’s chapter of women who love craft beer. Yep, we’re a group of fun ladies who get together to learn about and drink craft beer in our own hometown.

If you weren’t aware, Milwaukee is an amazing place to be for beer-lovers. Craft and nano breweries are popping up left and right, it seems, and each one brings a unique aspect, whether that’s through flavor, ingredients, green energy, or funky labels. While it’s fun to try out beer on your own, GPO brings together a community of women for exclusive brewery tours, beer glass lessons, homebrewing opportunities, food & beer pairing classes, and much more!

Chocolate Porter Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream and Beer Caramel Drizzle | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

What better way to celebrate one year of craft beer drinking than with beer-infused cupcakes? I rose to the challenge, and armed with some Door County Brewing Co. 6-packs, developed two cupcake flavors to please the crowd.

I chose the Polka King porter to put into a chocolate cupcake. This beer is made with pale chocolate malt, so the flavor was perfect. Topping it with a caramel buttercream really helps to bring out the sweetness of the beer, and a drizzle of porter caramel sauce rounds out the dessert to pack a porter punch.

Chocolate Porter Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream and Beer Caramel Drizzle | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

So glorious with their caramel drizzle and pink bottle caps! Photo courtesy of Kelly Planter.

Break out a couple bottles of beer and bake up these beauties for your next celebration! Don’t forget to enjoy a glass while you’re at it 🙂

Chocolate Porter Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream and Beer Caramel Drizzle | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

I’m having way too much fun at this party! Photo courtesy of Kelly Planter.

Chocolate Porter Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream and Salted Porter Caramel Drizzle

Makes 24 cupcakes

For the porter caramel sauce, adapted from Betty Crocker

  • 1 12 oz bottle porter beer
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 C packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 C heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

Begin by making the beer caramel sauce, as it requires time to cool.

In a large saucepan, simmer beer over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the butter and brown sugar. Cook about 12 minutes, without stirring, to 234-235°F on candy thermometer (mixture will look syrupy). Remove from heat.

Slowly add the whipping cream, vanilla, and salt, stirring constantly. Return to medium heat; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened and creamy. Transfer to a glass dish and allow to cool at least 2 hours.

For the caramel buttercream, adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

  • 1/2 C salted butter
  • 1 C packed dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 C heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 C powdered sugar

Note: The frosting also requires some cooling time, so start this before baking the cupcakes.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Once melted, add brown sugar and 1/3 cup heavy cream. Stir constantly over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add salt. Let the caramel bubble for exactly 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool (now is a good time to bake the cupcakes).

Once caramel is cooled, beat in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time along with the other 1/3 cup heavy cream, until you reach desired consistency.

For the chocolate porter cupcakes, adapted from Sugardish Me

  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 C granulated sugar
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 C unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 12 oz bottle porter beer, divided
  • ¾ C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • ⅔ C buttermilk (or use skim milk mixed with 1 tsp lemon juice)

Preheat the oven to 325. Line two muffin tins with paper liners.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in one cup of the porter beer and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Let cool slightly for a few minutes.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Beat in the eggs and buttermilk. Pour in the cooled chocolate mixture and mix until combined.

Scoop batter into the lined muffin tins. Bake at 325 for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool 10 minutes in the tins, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Poke about 4 holes into each cooled cupcake. Using the remaining beer, spoon a little over each cupcake. This will ensure they’re super moist. Let the beer soak in before frosting.

To assemble:

Transfer buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a decorating tip of your choice. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake. Drizzle a teaspoon of beer caramel sauce over each frosted cupcake. Serve and enjoy!


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