Monthly Archives: June 2016

Ultimate Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

 Last Tuesday was my husband and I’s 9 year wedding anniversary. Every year as a tradition I make him one of his favorite dinners. The dish is usually chicken parm and fettuccini alfredo, but this year we did things a little differently. We made dinner together, I love cooking and baking with him in the kitchen. I find it gives us the time to talk about the day and plans for the weekend.

One dinner item I wanted to make sure was done before he got home was dessert. We were talking the other day about cookies and he mentioned to me he liked double chocolate chip cookies growing up. I couldn’t believe after 9 years of marriage that he just now mentioned he loves double chocolate chip cookies. Every time I telI him I am in the mood to make cookies his answer is always chocolate chip so I guess that is how these double chocolate cookies never came up in conversation.  He explained to me, he used to love going to the Oringal Cookie place in the mall and he would order these as a treat. From that point on I made it my mission to find the ultimate double chocolate chip cookie recipe. These cookies are rich in chocolate and will definitely satisfy your chocolate craving.

This recipes yields 56 cookies, using a size 60 cookie scoop


2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour (I love Rob’s Red Mill)

3/4 cup of Dutch Processed, High Quality Cocoa Powder ( I prefer Penzey’s)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp finely grounded espresso

1 cup of granulated sugar

1 cup of brown sugar (not packed)

2 sticks of butter (unsalted), softened to room temp

2 eggs


2 tsp high quality vanilla extract

1 bag of Extra Dark Chocolate Chips 63% Cacao 11.5 oz bag ( I used Guittard)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Parchment paper line 2 half sheet baking pans. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl sift the flour, salt, soda, cocoa, and espresso then whisk the dry ingredients together thoroughly.  Set aside
  3. In a stand mixer bowl, cream the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy (approximately 1-2 minutes). On low speed add one egg at a time and then the vanilla. Continue to mix on low until the ingredients are incorporated; however, be careful not to over mix.
  4. While keeping the mixer speed on low, gradually add in the dry sifted ingredients into the wet batter. Once there are no signs of dry residue fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.
  5. Using a cookie scoop (size # 60) portion out the cookies evenly on the half sheet parchment paper lined pan. I placed 3 cookies a cross and 12 to a pan.
  6. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 10 minute, remove the cookies from oven and allow the cookies to rest on the pan for 1 minute than remove to a wire rack for the remainder of the cooling process.

Zippy Black Bean Salad with Tajin & Radishes



Yesterday my husband and I had our families over for a Father’s Day picnic! We had a wide spread lunch with all kinds of summer time favorites. My husband smoked a pork shoulder over night for pulled pork carnitas. My mom made her famous mac salad, my mother-in-law made her famous sheet cake, & potato salad, my grandma lee made her calico beans.  We also had some other favorites like rhubarb pie, coleslaw, jalapeño cornbread.

It was a beautiful day for a picnic. Even though all of boys love meat, there were a few of us at the picnic who are herbivorous aka vegeterians. The other day, I made a few pounds of dry black beans in the pressure cooker and had some leftover for this colorful zippy salad.



One of the vegetables both my husband’s dad and my dad love are radishes so I thought I would incorporate these into the salad as well.  Let’s face it my dad and my husband’s father are from the ever so popular “meat and potato” lovers generation. Any way I can get the men to eat vegetables in our family is a plus!

This salad is quick and easy and only takes a few hours to marry the ingredients together in the refrigerator.



2 cups of black beans

1 cup of chopped celery about two stalks

1 TB apple cider vinegar

2 TB lime Juice (1 small lime)

1/2 cup Orange Bell Pepper, Chopped (about a half of a medium)

1/2 cup chopped red onion (about a 1/3 of a large onion)

1 green onion chopped

1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of Tajin

2 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped

1 cup of mini Kumato Tomatoes, cut in half

1/2 cup of radishes (sliced thin with mandolin) about 4 radishes

1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup of chopped fresh chives

salt and pepper to taste (I like a lot of pepper 1 tsp); I did not add salt to this dish since my grandfather is on a low sodium diet and well we could all use a little less salt in our diets).


  1. In a small bowl mix the apple cider vinegar, lime juice, tajin, garlic, salt & pepper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the remainder of the ingredients. Pour the prepared liquid dressing over the vegetable blend. Using a spatula fold gently the ingredients together. Place a sealable lid on the bowl and allow the ingredients to marry for several hours in the refrigerator prior to serving.
  3. Before serving fold the ingredients together one more time.
  4. Enjoy!

**** Caution there will not be many leftovers*******



Rhubarb Almond Spiced Coffeecake


IMG_8366We harvested our rhubarb last weekend and my grandpa also recently gave me several pounds as well. I love spring time when my rhubarb comes in ready to harvest with little effort and minimal upkeep.  My husband & I  spent yesterday morning cutting up the rhubarb in the food processor and storing the vibrant vegetable in ziplock bags either in 1-2 cup batches or 5 cup batches for pie and cakes. Rhubarb freezers so well,  I find such pleasure in being able to enjoy the rhubarb all year long.  


We now have 5 rhubarb plants, and my grandfather has about 50-60 plants. He has so many he sells them to the local farmers market. I hope to one day do the same. He has such a green thumb! I am so proud of him, he is going to be recognized in the next few weeks for his garden in my home town’s Tribune Paper.

This picture below is my grandpa and I,  in front of my husband & I’s garden this year. Every fruit and vegetable in our garden is from my grandpa’s greenhouse he received for Christmas.



Cake Ingredients:

3 cups of whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp high quality vanilla extract

1 tsp ground mace

1 tsp ground Vietnamese cinnamon

1 tsp ground Chinese 5 spice

1/3 cup slivered almonds

5 cups of rhubarb chopped

1 cup liquid egg substitute (or 8 egg whites)

3/4 cup canola oil

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Cinnamon Swirl 

2 TB cinnamon sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heavily cooking spray a bunt pan. Set aside
  2. In a medium bowl mix together thoroughly the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, & spices. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer beat the egg whites and sugar together on high speed for a minute.  Decrease the speed to low and add in oil and vanilla.
  4. Continue the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour into the wet batter (I like to do this either by large spoon or a half cup measuring cup). Mix until no dry residue remains.
  5. Gently fold in the rhubarb and almonds.
  6. Pour about half the batter into the greased bunt pan. Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar evenly on-top of the batter. Pour the remaining batter on-top of the cinnamon layer.
  7. Bake the cake in the oven at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. I used a stoneware bunt pan, so baking times can differ. Be sure to check the cake with a cake tester and verify to see if the tester comes out clean without signs of wet residue.
  8. Remove the cake from oven and place the bunt pan on a wire rack and allow the cake to cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before inverting and removing the cake to cool the remainder of the time on wire rack.
  9. Enjoy




Homemade Mocha Coffee Creamer

This recipe makes 24 ounces of coffee creamer.

1/2 cup skim milk
1 cup fat free half and half
1 can sweetened condensed fat free (14 oz)
2 oz of your favorite chocolate (I used the one we recently made on our trip to Hawaii)
1 tb pure vanilla extract
1 tsp finely ground espresso powder


Place all the ingredients (except for the vanilla extract) in a 2 quart sauce pan on medium heat for 5-10 minutes, do not allow this to come to a boil, simmer is optimal.  Stir the mixture often with a whisk.  Remove from heat, allow the liquid to cool slightly and whisk in vanilla extract.  Set aside, it is also essential to allow the liquid to cool prior to pouring the creamer into a glass container. I recommend using a funnel for this step. Keep the vessel sealed in refrigerator. Make sure to shake the creamer well prior to each use. Since this coffee creamer is homemade and no preservatives it does tend to separate.

Classic Coffeecake Remake




My mom growing up always made coffeecake on the weekends. I love the smell of the cake baking in the oven. I find it ironic years later to learn there is no coffee in the actual cake (how disappointing!!). The baked good just pairs so nicely with a strong cup of coffee, is where I am sure the name stemmed from.


Today is an eventful day,  we are finally planting our garden.  My grandfather provided us with a lot of starter plants this past week. We just recently came back from vacation and have not had time to put in a garden.  He is visiting us for a father’s day picnic next week. I want to make sure we get everything planted before he reviews our garden. My husband tried to start the rototiller Friday and  it would not budge. Luckily our neighbors are going to let us borrow their tracker rototiller attachment. As a jester of gratitude, I baked this breakfast treat for them.

This cake is fairly large and I baked the coffeecake in my pampered chef stoneware bunt pan. I love, love stoneware for baking. Stoneware makes all baked goods cook so much more evenly. I also cut the sugar down significantly and swapped out the sour cream for nonfat greek yogurt. I did decrease the butter by half as well and used unsweetened applesauce in it’s place, which adds moisture and sweetness but also helps cut down on the saturated fat.

This recipe yields 16 to 20 servings


2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

2 cups AP flour

1 3/4 cup of sugar, push 1/4 cup later for cinnamon and sugar swirl

2 TB of ground Vietnamese Cinnamon

4 Eggs

2 cups of plain greek non fat yogurt

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 stick of unsalted butter (1/2 cup); softened to room temperature

1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce

2 tsp of high quality pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously cooking spray a large bunt pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl mix together thoroughly the flours, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Place in a stand mixer bowl the butter, & 1 & 3/4 of the sugar, using paddle attachment cream the two together. Add in applesauce and vanilla and continue to mix to incorporate the ingredients together. On low speed, add in the egg one at a time. Allow for each egg to incorporate into the batter before adding another egg.
  4. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the egg batter, continue the mixer speed on low. Once incorporated add 1/3 of the greek yogurt, repeat until flour and yogurt are gone.
  5. In a small bowl take the cinnamon and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and mix together, set aside.
  6. Take 1/3 of the batter and spread with rubber spatula on the bottom of the greased bunt pan. Sprinkle evenly with 1/3 of the cinnamon sugar blend. Repeat the steps two more times, until no batter and cinnamon blend remain. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 60 -65 minutes or until cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Place the bunt pan on a wire rack, allow the cake to remain in the hot pan for 15 minutes to cool slightly. After the 15 minutes have elapsed, remove the cake from the pan and allow to cool on wire rack until you are ready to serve the cake.





Mocha Banana Peanut Butter Shake

It’s been hot and I cannot think of a better way to cool off than one of these shakes. Today I made a his and hers. These frosted beer glass are not just for beer!! 

This recipe yields 2 large shakes!  


2 mini banana (aka Apple Bananas) or just one medium standard banana

2 TB of chocolate protein powder (100 calories per scoop) NSA

3 TB of peanut butter protein powder (or 2 TB PB2 powder)

1 cup cold chilled coffee 

1 cup unsweetened vanilla cashew milk (or any nut milk of the unsweetened variety)

Handful of ice (4-6 cubes) 


1. In this order, place the milk, coffee and protein powders in the blender. Mix to incorporate the ingredients. 

2. Add the banana and purée the fruit. Lastly add the ice and pulse. Continue to pulse until you reach your desired consistency. 

Enjoy !

Banana Chocolate Protein Shake with Cocoa Nibs

This is a freshing drink after a long humid run. I added a banana for some thickness, extra fiber, and potassium. To top it off, I sprinkled cocoa nibs for an added flare. I have a new found love for cocoa nibs. 

Cocoa nibs packet some hefty antioxidants from the cacao bean which chocolate is harvested from! Not to mention they add a nice nutty texture with cocoa flavor, bonus no sugar. 

1 scoop of chocolate protein powder (about 100 calories per scoop) 

1 cup vanilla almond cashew blend unsweetened milk (or any other unsweetened vanilla nut milk around 25-35 calories per serving)

1 medium banana

Handful of ice (5-6 cubes) 

A pinch of cocoa nibs


1. Place the milk, & protein powder in blender, pulse a few times. Add banana and purée mixture. Add ice and allow the blender to work its magic. Mix until you reach the desired consistency you prefer. Pour into a fun glass and top cocoa nibs. Enjoy!