Snacks and glass of wine!

I love to snack!! Especially on fruit, crackers, and cheese. The hardest part is knowing when to stop:) snacks-2C

Friday night was a perfect low key, chill at home and eat goodies while watching tv kinda night. Being a huge Game of Thrones fan I needed to catch up on last week's episode. Made a quick run to Trader Joe's for essentials, grabbing pears, goat cheese, crackers, and trail mix. If your gonna sit on the couch and stuff your face, its good to try the healthy route.

With two dogs and my awesome boyfriend, we ate, we snuggled, we watched dragons lol

Snack Tray:

Bite size everything crackers

Garlic and Herb goat cheese

Fresh Pear slices

Cranberry, walnut, and pumpkin seed trail mix

Two glasses of Shiraz:)

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Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes

Pancakes-5BLOGO Today I woke up feeling adventurous! No boring cereal or toast for this girl:)

It's a banana and chocolate chip pancake kinda day. I justify my decision based on eating lots of vegetables for dinner last night. Plus making your meal from scratch is always rewarding.

~Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 Tbsp organic sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/4 cup vanilla almond milk

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla

1/2-2/3 cup mashed bananas

1 egg

dark chocolate chips

~Make

Mix all ingredients together except chocolate chips

Set frying pan to medium heat ( add a little coconut oil to lightly grease pan)

3 normal spoonfuls of batter onto middle of pan, making about the size of a coaster

once batter is bubbling sprinkle chocolate chips on top

let them sink then flip pancake

lightly press until pancake is cooked

~EAT

stack desired number of pancakes onto plate

add sliced bananas and chocolate chips

pour on syrup and dig in!!!!

*no need for butter, BUT a little peanut butter spread is pretty darn tasty:)!!!

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Chocolate Dipped Pineapple

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 I have never traveled to Hawaii but I can go their in my kitchen! Pineapple is my favorite fruit and who doesn't like chocolate? Need a fun afternoon snack..here yah go:)
I hope no one is judging my writing or punctuation skills...just stare at the food please.
Make:
Cut fresh pineapple into rings, remove core
I dap off some of the juice for easy dipping
Melt chocolate chips on stovetop
Dip or drizzle warm chocolate onto pineapple
Sprinkle coconut and almonds
Place in fridge to chill
YUM!! Fruity, chocolatey, almond crunch and coconut goodness just slaps you in the face:)

Homemade Cherry Pie

Cherry season means pie making time!!! I love just about every kind of pie, but hot cherry pie with vanilla ice cream is a summer tradition. I refuse to even look at the bags of cherry pie filling in the grocery store..yuck!! If I am taking the time to bake, it needs to be done right. Especially if I am going to stray away from my diet, I want the real thing:)
Please follow the process of hand picked cherries to dessert satisfaction!
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Ingredients
Crust:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup very cold unsalted butter ( I used 2 sticks, chopped into pieces)
8 tablespoons ice water
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp organic sugar
Filling:
4 1/2-5 cups pitted fresh cherries (I used a deep dish pie pan, so 5 worked for me!)
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup organic sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
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~Pit cherries (remove stems first)
With fresh cherries, you must remove the pits. You can choose from two simple methods. Slit cherries in half or use a chopstick to push them out from stem side and retain cherry shape.
~Make the Crust
Sift flour into mixing bowl to remove lumps. Combine sugar and salt, then add butter pieces. Use hands to knead butter into flour.  Once throughly combined, add cold water.
Sprinkle fresh flour onto flat rolling surface and to ball of pie dough. Lightly coat dough with flour to prevent sticking. Roll out to an even layer about 1/8 inch thickness and slightly larger than pie dish. Leftover dough will be used for lattice. Gently place crust into dish and cut off excess dough.
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~Make the Filling
Mix cornstarch, sugar, vanilla, almond, lemon, and salt into small bowl. Then pour onto pitted cherries and gently coat them using a spatula in a separate bowl. spoon filling gently into pie crust.
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~ Add your Lattice
Take remaining chilled dough, lightly pat with flour and roll out to an even 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 1/2 -3/4 inch strips. Lay out 4-5 strips evenly spaced and parallel across topping. Use fingers to press ends into sides of bottom crust. Fold back alternating strips as you weave each new piece from alternate direction. Continue until lattice weave is completely covering pie. Press edges in around the pie dish to secure lattice.
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~Signature Touches
Chefs are artists, so make your pie an original!
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~Bake that pie already
Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 40-45 minutes. Or when crust is lightly brown and cherries are bubbling in the center. About 15 minutes before pie is done baking, remove from oven, lightly brush lattice with almond milk and sprinkle with sugar.
Let pie cool for 1-2hrs before slicing. (this is very hard...trust me it will still be warm, but allows filling to set)
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~Prepare to eat
While the pie is cooling...get some plates and forks ready..duh!! This is a given, but make sure you have vanilla ice cream on stand by :)
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~EAT!!!!!!
Slice yourself a big piece, be generous with the ice cream, and enjoy all your hard work! YES..this is the best cherry pie ever:)
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Sharing Food!

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Do you have trouble deciding what to order at restaurants? I do..mainly because I want to try everything! I have found two solutions to this problem.
1.  Sharing Food
Order several main dishes or multiple appetizers and share across the table. When you are dining with friends, everyone can sample a mixture of the menu and split the bill. Or, in my case..my boyfriend and I simply share half of our meal.
2. Visit Restaurants More Often
Yes, this may sound like the least practical choice. But, sometimes you just want to eat the whole cheeseburger! When every appetizer sounds drool worthy, you need to try them all:) So..each time you visit your fav restaurant make sure you venture out and explore the menu.
I have tried both options this week and my tastebuds thanked me. For Tasty Tuesday, my boyfriend and I took the pups to Crafted. We gorged on tacos, a rice bowl and mac n'cheese. Happily sharing our plates with each other.
Fast forward two days..with a friend visiting from out of state, we ventured back to Crafted. Hello?! Score on downtown dining again.  Ravenous when we seated, I wasn't eager to split my lunch and decided to order the burger.. just for me. Selfish, I know..but it was worth it! A gooey pimento cheese burger with a side of sweet potato chips. Ok..maybe I let everyone sample the chips:)
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