Healthy Ways to Indulge a Chocolate Craving

Many people have a sweet tooth that creates a craving for chocolate, but while the occasional indulgence is okay, eating too much chocolate could be the end to your healthy diet. Here are a few healthy ways to eat chocolate that will keep you right on track when a craving strikes.

Chocolate Tart with Hazelnut Shortbread Crust [Eating Well]
Make this seemingly decadent dessert the next time you have friends over for dinner, and no one will even know that it’s actually healthy. With just over 250 calories per serving and six grams of protein, you’ll get the taste of chocolate without feeling weighed down.

Black Bean Brownies [Chocolate Covered Katie]
While the addition of black beans to brownies may seem strange at first, you won’t even be able to taste the protein-packed beans when they’re masked by the rich, dense chocolate flavor. These brownies are also flourless, which is great for low-carb diets.

Healthy Homemade Chocolate [Wellness Mama]
Instead of grabbing a fat- and sugar-packed candy bar from the checkout counter at the grocery store, make your own healthier version at home. This recipe includes only four ingredients, and because they’re all natural, you won’t have to worry about ingesting any chemicals and unnatural ingredients.

Spring-Clean Your Meal Plan With These In-Season Fruits and Veggies

Everyone knows that the springtime is one of the best times of the year when it comes to produce. From ripe, juicy fruits to lush, green vegetables, lots of your favorite foods come back into season in the spring. Here are just a few of the fruits and vegetables that you have to look forward to.

  • Strawberries. Whether you choose fresh fruit salads or a decadent pie, you can use strawberries in lots of delicious recipes that are perfect for warm weather days.
  • Asparagus. Looking to add a side of greens to your dinner? Asparagus tastes its best from March through June.
  • Cherries. With a great deal of fiber and potassium, sweet cherries are some of the springtime's tastiest and healthiest fruits.
  • Radishes. If you're looking for a unique veggie to add some color to your salads, radishes are the perfect choice (and they're also packed with Vitamin C!).
  • Apricots. Add them to yogurt or simply bite right in, because apricots deliver a healthy dose of potassium, Vitamin C and fiber.
  • Artichokes. Once it's warm enough to fire up the grill, your guests will love a side of char-grilled artichokes with their main course.

Spring Produce Guide [Food Network]

How to Keep Leafy Greens Fresher Longer

Don’t you just hate it when you attempt to buy a healthy batch of vegetables at the grocery store, only to have them go bad before you can even eat them? By using these simple tips, you can learn how to prolong the lifespan of your veggies and keep your greens fresher for longer.

  • Don’t leave leafy greens on the counter. While many types of produce (such as apples and potatoes) are okay when left out in the kitchen, leafy greens are much delicate and require cooler temperatures for safekeeping.
  • Wash them. As soon as you get your greens home, wash them with an all-natural vegetable cleanser and dry with a salad spinner to remove any chemicals, dirt, or pests.
  • Remove bad leaves. If you notice any brown spots on your greens, carefully remove them to prevent them from spoiling the whole bunch.
  • Don’t store them on a shelf in the refrigerator. Because everything in your refrigerator is not created equally, greens cannot by stored in the same way as, say, Chinese food leftovers. Instead, place them in the designated crisper drawer.
  • Plan how you’ll eat them. To prolong their lifespan further, plan to eat fresh salads using greens first and sauté or stir fry them once they near their wilted phases.

Leafy Greens []
How to Store Leafy Greens in the Fridge [The Sprouting Seed]
How to Store Your Leafy Greens to Make Them Last Longer [Eat Local 365]

Stumped by Cooking Conversions? Bookmark These 3 Websites!

Using precise measurements is very important when cooking or baking, but that can be difficult to do when a recipe uses the Metric system or a tool using a unit of measurement that you don’t have on hand. Bookmark these cooking measurement equivalent websites to use during your next kitchen endeavor.

Info Please
This simple, easy to read website offers a few different comparison charts that will help you to find a measurement in cups, tablespoons, or whatever type of measuring tool you have in your kitchen arsenal. It includes cups to tablespoons, Metric measurements to US measurements, and many more.

Fact Monster
This website is equally simple, and it offers comparison charts for a variety of different measurement equivalents. It also includes a conversion calculator that enables you to input your own units if you run into a particularly tricky measurement.

The Science of Cooking
Whether you need to know oven temperature conversions from Celsius to Fahrenheit or volume measurements from Metric to American Standard, The Science of Cooking has it all. This site also offers charts converting volume units, dry measurement equivalents, and much more.

Recipes That Make Use of Those Overripe Bananas

Bananas are quite finicky fruits, and if you don’t eat them right away they turn brown and too soft for many people’s tastes. Before you toss out those overripe bananas, however, try one of these delicious recipes that welcome that extra sweet flavor!

Chocolate Banana Creamsicles []
While these cool, healthy treats are especially refreshing during the hot summer months, they taste just as delicious year-round. Simply blend a few overripe bananas with cocoa, vanilla, and coconut milk, then freeze it to create a handheld treat.

Bananas Foster Parfaits []
Give your browned bananas a second life with these gourmet quality parfaits. Greek yogurt creates the base, while cooking the sliced bananas with butter, apple juice, and toasted pecans imparts a sweet and robust flavor. If you’re serving this to adult dinner guests, substitute the apple juice for rum to create a more grown-up taste.

Banana Banana Bread []
This moist, dense bread contains so many bananas, it uses the word twice. It’s hearty enough to eat for breakfast, but it’s so sweet and delicious that it makes a great dessert, as well. Best of all, the riper the bananas, the better they work in this simple recipe.

Pro Tips for a Perfect Pie Crust

With the holiday season in full swing, you might want to impress your family and friends with a delicious, homemade pie at your festive gathering. Although making a pie from scratch seems intimidating, these tips from the pros will ensure that your crust turns out completely flawless.

  1. Chill everything. It’s fairly common knowledge that a good pie crust relies on very cold butter, but you can even go one step further by chilling everything (like flour, butter and shortening) before beginning.
  2. Keep things lumpy. While most recipes require you to blend or mix the dough until it’s perfectly smooth, a good pie crust relies on those small chunks of butter or other fats. This is what creates small air pockets for that lovely flaky texture once it’s done baking.
  3. Don’t over-handle the dough. The warmth from your hands can cause the gluten in the dough to seize up, so be sure to only touch the dough when transferring it into the pan.
  4. Use parchment paper. Not only does sandwiching your pie dough between parchment paper keep your kitchen cleaner, it also prevents the crust from tearing when it gets too thin.
  5. Create an aluminum shield. Because the pie’s filling and its crust tend to cook at different speeds, wrap a shield of aluminum foil around the crust’s edges during the last five minutes of baking.

10 Tips for Making Perfect Pie Crust [About Food]
The 10 Commandments of a Perfect Pie Crust [Real Simple]
6 Tips For Perfect Pies And Tarts [Food Network]

These Dairy-Free Substitutes Have All the Flavor of Cow’s Milk

Many people choose to cut milk out of their diets, whether it’s because of a food allergy or a vegan diet. Luckily, dairy-free milk substitutes make it easy to continue eating and cooking the foods that you love. Here are a few of the best milk substitutes.

  1. Almond milk. Almond milk is a wonderful milk substitute because it has a thick, creamy consistency just like real milk. Its taste is nutty and slightly toasted, but it’s not enough to overwhelm your cooking or baking. Almond milk is also completely free of dairy and has only around 60 calories per cup.
  2. Soy milk. Soy milk is the original milk substitute, and likely the one that you’re most familiar with. It’s made with thickeners that give it the milk-like consistency that’s necessary for baking, and its taste is creamy and a bit sweet.
  3. Coconut milk. Newly popular coconut milk has a slightly thinner texture than cow’s milk, but its light flavor is very tasty. This isn’t the best option for baking because it could produce breads or cakes with a gummy texture, but it is delicious on cereals or to drink straight.

Common Ingredient Substitutions [AllRecipes]
Meet the Milk Substitutes [Cooking Light]
Substituting Milk and Dairy Ingredients [Kids With Food Allergies]

Enjoy Parsley in These Three Recipes

Ah, parsley. It’s truly the perfect herb, complementing everything from meats to salads to salad dressings. If you simply can’t get enough parsley, you’ll be happy to find that there are seemingly endless number of recipes made better by this one simple garnish. Here are three new recipes perfected by parsley!

Parsley Leaf Salad
Though parsley is normally an accent to other foods, in this salad recipe the herb takes center stage. The delicate leaves provide an earthy taste, while pine nuts, capers, and red onion add a bit of crunch, flavor, and substance to every bite. Top with freshly ground pepper and extra-virgin olive oil to create a tasty and attractive dinner party salad.

Linguine with Toasted Almonds, Parsley and Lemon
Whole wheat noodles create the base for this hearty, rustic pasta. It’s tossed in a combination of lemon, Romano cheese, and olive oil, while parsley and almonds impart a special crunch.

Traditional Chimichurri
Chimichurri is a staple in Argentinean cuisine, and a bowl of this zesty oil-based sauce can be found on every dinner table. The blend of parsley, olive oil, garlic, and vinegar is very similar to a simple pesto, but the addition of crushed red pepper really sets it apart.

4 Creative Waffle Recipes to Make at Home

Whether you prefer sweet or savory tastes, waffles are a versatile dish that can be prepared a number of different ways. Check out these creative waffle recipes before you break out the waffle iron at your next brunch or breakfast at home.

Cornmeal Bacon Waffles with Cheese Sauce
If you’re the type of person who steers clear of sweet breakfast dishes, these cornmeal waffles will delight your taste buds. Topped with crispy bacon and drizzled with homemade cheese sauce, this savory dish is great for a midday brunch.

Pumpkin Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup
Just about everyone loves pumpkin flavor around fall and winter seasons, and these pancakes have the warm and spicy taste that you love on cold mornings.

Chicken and Waffles
Bring the flavor of the South to your breakfast table no matter where you live on the Mason-Dixon line with this traditional Southern dish. The savory taste of fried chicken contrasts the sweet waffles for a unique flavor that’s deliciously decadent.

Whole Grain Waffles
Made with hearty whole-grain instead of regular white flour, these waffles are a nutritious breakfast treat. Top them with a drizzle of honey, fresh fruit, or simple agave syrup for a healthy alternative to sugary maple syrup.

5 Delicious Recipes for Chicken Pot Pie

While chicken pot pie is typically considered a winter dish, the simplicity of this comfort food makes it a go-to meal for all seasons. If you're deciding what to put on the dinner table tonight, here are five chicken pot pie recipes to consider, one of which can be ready to bake in as little as 30 minutes!

Chicken Pot Pie IX [Allrecipes]
The votes from over 6,000 reviewers have earned this pot pie recipe a five-star rating. 

Chicken Pot Pie [Food Network]
From Barefoot Contessa's Ina Garten, this recipe yields four individual pot pies.

Pot Pie [The Pioneer Woman]
Step-by-step photos make this recipe look especially appetizing.

Classic Chicken Potpie [Martha Stewart]
A decorative edge on the pie crust makes Ms. Stewart's recipe shine.

Easy Chicken Pot Pie [Campbell's Kitchen]
This easy recipe relies on a can of cream of chicken soup for its base.

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