My Kind of Threesome: 3 Perfect Homemade Holiday Espresso Bean Treats

#sorrynotsorry Christmas cookies, but you’ve been replaced. Maybe forever.

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Who is obsessed with dark chocolate-covered espresso beans? Who has coffee+chocolate-crazed friends they need to get gifts for? Who is on a budget and can’t shell out for Trader Joe’s addictive chocolate-covered espresso beans errrryday?!!

I’ll tell ya who. This girl. And I’m quite confident I’m not alone. 🙂 Trying to sort out how to fuel my coffee/chocolate addiction, make cute gifts for dear pals, and not wreck my bank, I basically had a “DUHGIRLHEYEUREKA” moment:

HOMEMADE DARK CHOCOLATE COVERED ESPRESSO BEANS

FullSizeRender (19)Why had I never thought to do this myself before?! Infinitely cheaper than store bought, bound to make the cutest gifts ever with a little Pinterest-y kinfolk-y craft touch, and, in my humble opinion, EVEN DANG TASTIER, PEOPLE.

I had this stroke of “duh” while sippin’ a dirty chai, and my delish-drink-turned-epic-foodietreat creativity started rolling ( #pumpkinspicelattecupcakes, anyone?). I ended up going a few leaps further than just chocolate covered espresso beans and came up with three beyond easy, super affordable, and NOM YOUR FACE OFF good chocolate+espresso sweets:

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1. Dark Chocolate-Covered Espresso “Snowballs”FullSizeRender (14)

2. Peppermint Mocha Espresso Bean ClustersFullSizeRender (13)3. Dirty Chai Bark (my new personal favorite thing ever) FullSizeRender (20)

Recipes

1. Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso “Snowballs”

Makes 15-30 depending on size 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet, or milk, I don’t really care! . . .you can even make your own ala Chocolate Covered Katie)
  • 1 cup (or more, depending on just how much espresso you want in each bite) of espresso beans, preferably dark french roast (the darker, deeper brown will have sweeter and less bitter aftertaste)
  • 1-3 TBS milk of choice
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions:

1. Cover baking sheets in parchment paper. Set aside.

2.Melt your chocolate and milk of choice together. You can use a microwave, melting in twenty second increments. BUT I think the easiest method is honestly putting the chocolate and milk directly into a small pan on medium-low heat, and stirring until melted and then immediately removing from heat. Pour into medium-sized bowl. Voila.

3. Pour espresso beans into melted chocolate and stir until all beans are coated. As the chocolate begins to cool, it will stiffen slightly with the beans. This is a good thing.

4. Using a spoon or your hands, scoop out gumball-sized amounts of the chocolate espresso bean mixture, shape loosely into a ball, and roll in powdered sugar. It will be easier to shape them as you coat them in powdered sugar.

5. Place finished balls on parchment-covered baking pan and place in fridge (or freezer if you need ’em to set super fast). DEVOUR. Or try to share, good luck.

2. Peppermint Mocha Espresso Bean Clusters

Makes 15-30 depending on size

Ingredients:

  • Literally exactly the same as the “snowballs,” EXCEPT swap out the powdered sugar for 4 to 6 candy canes chopped into small pieces with a food processor (or knife and seriously Zen master dedication)

Instructions:

1. Also literally exactly the same as above EXCEPT roll your yummy chocolate-covered espresso clusters in crushed peppermint instead of powdered sugar.

FullSizeRender (17)3. Dirty Chai Bark 

Makes however dang many pieces you break your bark into 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  •  1/4 cup chai latte powder (I used this, but this looks like a great vegan option. . .you could even use your own chai spice mix and bulk it with powdered sugar)
  •  3 Tbs powdered sugar
  • 1 cup dark espresso beans
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Instructions:

1. Cover small sheet pan in parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Mix melted coconut oil with chai latte powder and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Add espresso beans and stir until coated.

3. Pour and spread out chai-espresso mixture across sheet pan.

4. Sprinkle with cinnamon and refrigerate or freeze until firm and breakable.

5. FALL IN LOVE WITH THIS BARK FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER

Notes:
As far as wrapping is concerned, Michael’s has totally solid and affordable packaging options. But beware, that cute silver ribbon I used has a serious case of glitter shedding.  . .

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What DIY gift ideas do you have lined up? Any other yummy espresso candies?

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The Last Vegan Bowl Recipe You’ll Ever Need: Lentil+Veggie Stir Fry w/ EPIC Spicy Tahini+Lime Sauce

You guys. I have a problem. I literally can’t stop making this unexpectedly awesome vegan bowl.

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It all started when I was raiding my fridge for odds-and-ends that needed to be eaten before I head out of town for the holidays. Kale stems, old lentils, a single carrot, garlic, an almost-sad-wilting-edible?. . .edible! bell pepper, lime, and muhammara. Da heck do you do with that? I’ll tell you what. . .

Lentil+Veggie STIR FRY w/ EPIC Spicy Tahini+Lime Sauce. That’s what.

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You’re welcome. Try not lick the bowl in front of friends because that’s embarrassing. Unless you share and then lick your bowls together. 🙂

Lentil+Veggie Stiry Fry w/ Spicy Tahini+Lime Sauce

(serves 1. . .but by all means, double it, triple it, quintuple it!)

Ingredients:

For Stir fry:

  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown lentils
  • 1/2 cup kale stems, sliced
  • 1 small carrot, sliced into little rounds
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 small bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (optional but recommended)
  • 1/2 tsp italian seasoning (optional but recommended)
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste

For Sauce:

  • heaping 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 Tbs muhammara (or 2 tsp sriracha + 1 Tbs olive oil for a similar heat level)
  • juice of one small lime
  • 2-3 warm Tbs water
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper (start w/ an 1/8 tsp and adjust from there)

Instructions:

For Stir fry:

  1. In a large, shallow pan, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Add garlic, tossing to coat in olive oil.
  2. Add kale stems, carrot, bell peppers, lentils, salt, and italian seasoning. Saute in pan for three to four minutes until vegetables are crisp and cooked through! Remember those veggies moving constantly so you don’t end up with burnt sticky mush! How lame would that be? And you can splash in a little water or add more oil if necessary. Anyway.
  3. When veggies are cooked, crack some delicious black pepper on top.

For Sauce:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients. Pour over stir fry, or straight into mouth (no judgement).
  2. No really, that’s it.

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Notes: I feel like both the stir fry and sauce recipes are very “forgiving” and “friendly,” so toss whatever the heck you have or need to into either one. ie a lime vs a lemon? whatever. don’t have lentils but have a buttload of chickpeas? do it.

What are your fav unconventional stir fry + sauce combos?

My Boyfriend’s Back in Town: Cranberry Avocado Toast

Remember when y’all met my boyfriend? Anyway, after a stint of being sloppy and unphotogenic (but delicious nonetheless), this toasty boy cleaned up his act in time for the holidays.

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My dad and I take Thanksgiving side dishes very seriously (like Bobby Flay Food Network throwdown contests), and I’ve been working to perfect a homemade cranberry sauce. This obviously means that, uhm, I have a lot of cranberry sauce to consume solo, and yesterday the best idea ever hit me:

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CRANBERRY AVOCADO TOAST

It’s so epic. The sweet, tart cranberries on top of cool, smooth avocado. Yes. Just Yes. So whether or not you wind up with homemade cranberry sauce, cranberry jam, or that slightly odd but still yummy canned stuff, slather it on top of avocado toast and you won’t be disappointed!

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The Thanksgiving: Cranberry Avocado Toast

serves 1

Ingredients

  • half a ripe avocado
  • good quality bread that makes you smile (I used walnut levain)
  • super scant 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs (or more, whateva) cranberry sauce
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Toast your bread to your liking. Then, scoop out of avocado flesh and mash onto toast. Add cranberry sauce, salt, and pepper. Done!

I Been Drinkin. (Detox) Salad.

Anyone else hit this past weekend hard? There was a work party at my office, and when your office is packed with young and fun social media babes, things get a little cray. Anyway.

I needed to feel goooooood to get over my whiskey sour(s) moment, and this salad is packed full of hangover cures (…okay, I can’t scientifically prove that, but all the ingredients are really good for you and taste BOMBDIGGITY together in your mouth).

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For instance. Did ya know broccoli has glucoraphanin and glucobrassicin? These weird-to-pronounce phytonutrient winners aid in your body’s detox process. And almonds’ vitamin E keep your skin glowing regardless of what you feel like on the inside.

And as far as arugula is concerned, everyone’s favorite Roman epic poet, Virgil, claimed:

“The rocket excites the sexual desire of drowsy people.”

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…So to shake off your hangover, or apparently to get yo’ groove on, nom this salad asap.

I Been Drinkin. (Detox) Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 cups freshly washed arugula
  • 1 small endive head, washed and sliced thin
  • 1 small head raddichio, sliced thin
  • 2 cups broccoli, stems cut and sauteed briefly in olive oil
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 apple, sliced thin
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix lemon juice and olive oil together for dressing. Set aside.
  2. In giant awesome salad bowl, toss together raddichio, broccoli, quinoa, apple, and almonds. Pour over dressing, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Feel better kids, a new weekend is upon you.

Best Ever Weeknight Pasta Sauce

Jarred pasta sauce is good….

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…but it’s not amazing.

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I prefer amazing.

I also prefer recipes that don’t take foreverrrrr during the week. Lucky for all lovers of both convenience and amazingness, these easy additions to jarred pasta sauce totally elevate it from good to YES HOLY HOT DANG GIMME MORE.

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Adding roasted vegetables and freshly simmered lentils adds a caramelized complexity, huge boost of plant-based protein and fiber, and gives your good sauce that amazing touch. I served mine over roast spaghetti squash for a hearty veg meal.

Best Ever Weeknight Pasta Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced (or, whatever, these were within my farmers market budget but I’m sure any mushrooms would rock your socks)
  • 1 large, yellow sweet onion, sliced
  • 3 cups cooked brown lentils
  • 1 16oz jar tomato sauce of choice
  • 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ olive oil
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Herbs like parsley, basil, etc to taste
  • Goat cheese or vegan cheese for crumbling, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment. Don’t want no sticking ‘shrooms!
  2. In a medium bowl, mix mushrooms, onions, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread onto baking sheet and place in oven for twenty minutes, flipping once.
  3. While veggies are roasting, put tomato sauce on low heat in a large sauce pan. Add balsamic vinegar and cooked lentils. As soon as veggies are roasted, add ’em in to your saucepan.
  4. WOOOOOOOT FANCY SAUCE FINISHED. Scoop over spaghetti (squash) or anything else that could use an epic tomato sauce boost. Top with fresh herbs or cheese/cheeze as desired.

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What other ways do you jazz up store-bought sauces?

Lazy Sunday Squash with Yogurt+Hummus

Despite being a food blogger that loves trying new flavors, I’m totally a creature of foodie habit.

Once I find something my taste buds dig, I can literally eat it for days in a row and not get sick of it (I’m looking at you, whole wheat tortillas + peanut butter + chocolate chips).

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This lazy Sunday squash recipe totally fits the I-swear-I’m-not-in-a-rut-it’s-just-damn-delicious bill.

I roast acorn squash in big batches to use for different recipes, but after trying this awesome Mediterranean-inspired combo once….I just can’t bring myself to eat it any other way.

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I’m pretty sure you’ll feel the same. Plus it’s so easy to toss this together I can hardly call it a recipe, but it’s too good not share.

Lazy Sunday Squash with Yogurt+Hummus

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • Half a roasted acorn squash (warm or cool, I like it both ways)
  • 1 slice of hearty, awesome bread, ideally toasted, and cubed (mine was hazelnut+fig from this killer bakery)
  • A scoop (roughly a ¼ cup?) of Greek yogurt (or soy or co-yo if that’s how you roll)
  • A smaller scoop (lol, I guess 2 Tbs) hummus of choice
  • 1 Tbs citrusy vinegar for drizzling
  • 1 Tbs olive oil for drizzling
  • Salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
  • Optional but awesome: fresh veggies on the side, I recommend cucumber. And, I crumbled a little goat cheese on top

Directions

  1. Put squash cut-side up in bowl
  2. Pile everything else in and drizzle vinegar, and olive oil on top.
  3. Add a little salt and pepper, and devourrrrr.

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#Supernonbasicbitch Pumpkin Spice Latte …. CUPCAKES

You read that right. Put down the mug and pick up a whisk…and well, a few other things too if you actually want to make these cupcakes.

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Fall is in full swing in New York, and this past weekend was cool, crisp, and rainy. Those three combined meant only one thing…baking. 

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I’m not sure how I feel about this whole #basicbitch thing in connection to #psl. Or, #basicbitch in general for that matter, because no one can be put into a boring bitch box solely for liking delicious things and occasionally wearing cute sweat pants. Am I right?! So if you’re going to whip up these cupcakes and take a cute picture of them, I vote you add #badassbitch, #strongawesomebakinglady #nonbasicbitch 😉

Thursday hugs,

Rose

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#Supernonbasicbitch Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup soy/almond/moo/whatever milk – if you’re feeling crazy indulgent, do half milk and half pumpkin spice soy/coconut creamer. My god.
  • Heaping 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted coconut oil (35g)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 tsp good instant espresso. If you wouldn’t actually ever drink it, don’t use it!
  • Lightly packed 1/2 cup brown sugar

Espresso Pumpkin Butter Frosting + Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 quick shake of salt
  • 2 tsp instant espresso
  • 2 Tbs milk of choice
  • 1 tbs melted coconut oil
  • whipped moo/soy/coconut whipped cream for topping

Directions

For Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cupcake tin with oil or butter (or toss in cupcake liners) and set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together milk of choice, pumpkin, vanilla, espresso powder, and oil. Let sit for at at least 5 minutes so that the flavors really meld. Good things take time. While you’re waiting…
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients and stir very well. Pour wet into dry, and stir until just mixed. Use self control.
  4. Pour batter evenly into cupcake tins. Don’t overdue it, these cupcakes will riiiiise! Bake 19-20 minutes, or until cupcakes rise and smell like #psl heaven. Let cool sufficiently before you even think of adding…

Espresso Pumpkin Butter Frosting:

  1. Heat coconut oil in medium-high sauce pan. Combine all other ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Pour mixture into pan and stir frequently. It will gradually thicken, and I liked the consistency after about ten minutes.
  3. Let cool for ten to fifteen minutes, and then slather onto cupcakes, toast, coffee, your face (what? yeah.)
  4. TOP WITH WHIPPED CREAM AND GO BE HAPPY

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Who else has any mad drink into cake creations? What fall rituals are you loving?