Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

Smarties and Toasted Coconut Granola

Smarties and Toasted Coconut Granola

My friends raising young children are always entertaining me with quirky tales of their kids’ weird behaviours.
My favourite are dinnertime woes, because as a recovering picky eater, not only do I find these stories hilarious, it’s fascinating and a little endearing – kids are cute and so adorably weird!

There’s my friend M’s sweet toddler who I’m pretty sure will become one of those crazy chefs renowned for unusual food pairings. Lately, he’s been obsessed with M&Ms – his mom and I had this discussion recently;

Mom M: you won’t believe what K made us do at dinner last night
Mom M: we had to put m&ms in his soup!
Mom M: that’s the only way he’d eat his dinner, he wants m&ms in EVERYTHING!
Me: Why?
Mom M: are you serious? because he’s an unreasonable child and we’re weak
Me: lol, but he’s such an adorable little boy though?
Mom M: yes, an adorable a tyrant, he is
Me: What kind of soup was it?
Mom M: minestrone why?
Me: Don’t you mean Minestrone con M&Ms?
Mom M: Ha ha ha ☹

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See, this is why I don’t have kids… my reaction would have been, “Sure kid, let’s all try M&Ms in our soup today; maybe you’re on to something!”
Meanwhile, poor M is trying to find less dramatic ways for little K to get his M&Ms fix and a balanced diet .

I recommended this smarties and toasted coconut granola I made last year. I took it on a weekend getaway and shared it with our host’s picky-eater-tween-daughters who absolutely adored it.

I used Smarties because I prefer them to M&Ms, but any sugar-coated chocolate candy of that variety will do.
The great thing about this granola is, even though it feels like you’re eating candy for breakfast, there’s not a whole lot in the recipe, compared to say having a whole bag for snack, but it looks indulgent, and it’s fun and colourful.
I added toasted coconut for a nutty tropical flavour, plus toasted coconut is really, really good in granola!

It’s versatile, I use it as topping for ice cream all the time, it’s great sprinkled on yogurt too, and of course with milk for breakfast, but I mostly eat it by itself, like…. well, candy.

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*To toast coconut ribbons, spread coconut ribbons in a thin layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 300F for about 20 minutes; stir every 5 minutes to ensure that the coconut is lightly browned, or spread coconut onto a skillet and toast on stovetop over medium heat, stir frequently until coconut is lightly browned.


Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Bar – Toffee with Walnuts & Pecans


I probably should state now that Trader Joe’s doesn’t pay me to tout their stuff.
Maybe they should, because there are a lot of goodies from TJ’s that I absolutely adore.
Of course, I’m not alone in this; there are others like me, not that I have a blog dedicated to TJ’s or anything…

Lately I’ve noticed that I’m not the only one making the cross border treks to get to the TJ’s in Bellingham.
On weekends at the TJ’s on James Street, there are usually more BC plates on the choked parking lot than there are Washington State plates – the locals must hate us!

One Saturday morning a few months ago when I told the guard at the border that I was making my monthly trip to TJ’s, he grinned and said “you too, huh?”
And before he handed back our IDs he asked if we’d tried the ‘dark chocolate bar with toffee and salt’.
We shook our heads and he said “You should, it’s the one with the squirrel on the package, it’s really good”

And it is!

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Bar – Toffee with Walnuts & Pecans
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I’m surprised I hadn’t noticed the playful attractive packaging before; I grab two or three bars whenever I go now.
The bar is thin, glossy and deep brown in large sectioned squares, made with 70% cocoa it’s surprisingly not intense, it’s almost mild without a bitter aftertaste.

It’s crunchy with tiny pieces of salty toffee, pecans and walnuts, although the nuts aren’t as detectable.
The salt and sweet and nuttiness of the toffee and nuts shine through the smooth and mild chocolate base.
I think the salt is what makes this chocolate special; overall, it’s a yummy tasting bar, inexpensive ($1.99 for 3oz bar), and for a chocolate lover like me, handy to have around to satisfy those cravings.


My Other Chocolate Posts:

White Chocolate Chip Nutella Cookies


I’ve been trying to write this post for about a week now, not because it’s special or hard, or that I couldn’t come up with the words to go with the pictures.
Blame summer!
Summer finally hit us here and we’ve been basking in sunshine these last few days; and every night just before I turn in, blissfully tired and content – I’d remember that I forgot to blog.

Meanwhile these cookies are so long gone… this just reminds me that I need to make more soon.
These cookies usually come about when I have an opened jar of Nutella that’s been hanging around for far too long.
I make them with a bit of banana, vanilla, turbinado sugar, and white chocolate chips to up the decadence.
They bake crispy, chewy in the middle and crackly on the surface.

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Mink Chocolate Café

Mink Chocolate 147/365 Hot Chocolate Break #mostly365

Spring here in the Pacific Northwest hasn’t been spectacular; in fact, it’s been downright depressing.
The weather gods have smiled on us, and we’re about to enjoy a nice stretch of sunny warm weather in the next couple of days.
After spending many rainy days in bed watching tv or baking, I decided to venture out on rainy days, and most days I’ll stop by Mink for a hot chocolate break.

Mink Chocolates Mink Chocolates
Mink Chocolates

I’ve written about Mink before, and if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I love chocolate.
I’ve lived just a few blocks away from this chocolate café, so why wasn’t I spending my rainy days there?
It’s the ultimate anti-depressant.
The café is in the little courtyard facing Canada Place; it’s quiet and bright with windows looking out to lush green gardens.
After passing by this café to (and from) work daily for years, I finally found the perfect rainy day to settle in for some hot chocolate.
Mink has really good hot chocolate; smooth, rich and creamy – just like their delectable chocolates except drinkable.

Hot Chocolate
Mink Chocolates - III Chocolates
Not only am I spending my gray days drinking lots of hot chocolate, I’m also amassing a small fortune in chocolate bars.

These Snacks

Because that’s the kind of day it’s been!

Sweet tea and an apple for snack

Monoprix White Chocolate
White chocolate with caramelized coconut from Monoprix – Snack #2

Soda & Chocolate
Snack #3 – Dark chocolate and Fentimans burdock soda

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