ghirardelli valentine’s bark + free printable

 ghirardelli valentines bark + free printable

When it comes to great gifts to give (and receive!), edible treats are at the top of my list. Gifts of food are thoughtful and convey to the recipient that they’re worth the time it takes to create and package up an edible gift. My favorite type of food gift to give, though, is one that only looks complicated and time-consuming, so for Valentine’s Day this year, I was inspired by some enticing Ghirardelli products while at Target, and created this it-only-looks-complicated Valentine’s Bark! Keep reading for the how-to and free printable  tags…

chocolate bark recipe 4 400x600 ghirardelli valentines bark + free printable

chocolate bark recipe 1 600x414 ghirardelli valentines bark + free printable

Who wouldn’t love a gift of this yummy-looking bark at Valentine’s Day? The ingredients for this are so simple, here’s what I used:

DSC 0036 600x414 ghirardelli valentines bark + free printable

Can I take a moment to wax lyrical about these Ghirardelli Candy Making and Dipping Wafers? First and foremost, they are versatile and easy to use, ensuring smooth and even melting. Meaning, of course, NO tempering! We all know that Ghirardelli products are an essential ingredient in any baker’s kitchen, but these Melting Wafers just took the cake. Anyone who’s ever ruined a batch of chocolate by tempering-gone-wrong (raises hand) knows what I mean.

But back to the recipe. I ended up not using the sprinkles; I really liked the neutral and simple feel of the bark on it’s own. You’ll also need a sheet pan, a spatula, a skewer or toothpick and a couple of microwave safe bowls. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Pour two bags of the Dark Melting Wafers into a microwave safe bowl. Be sure to microwave the wafers slowly; even though the wafers don’t need tempering, they can still burn if you’re not careful. I microwaved at 50% power for 30 seconds, stirred the wafers, and then continued to microwave at 50% power for 10 second intervals. When the wafers are almost melted, pull out the bowl and stir to finish melting.

DSC 00391 600x418 ghirardelli valentines bark + free printable

Step 2: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and pour the melted wafers onto the sheet, smoothing out with a spatula.

DSC 0045 600x429 ghirardelli valentines bark + free printable

DSC 0047 600x387 ghirardelli valentines bark + free printable

Step 3: Take a handful of White Melting Wafers and microwave until smooth. You’ll have to work a bit quickly, as your sheet of Dark Wafers will quickly want to set.

DSC 0043 21 600x485 ghirardelli valentines bark + free printable

Step 4: Drizzle the melted White Wafers over the dark, and use a toothpick or skewer to gently swirl the two together.

DSC 0050 600x416 ghirardelli valentines bark + free printable

See how pretty it turned out? I could stare at pretty swirled bark all day…

DSC 0051 600x400 ghirardelli valentines bark + free printable
Step 5: Time to decorate! I used a bag of Ghirardelli Valentine’s Day Impressions, which are perfect all by themselves, but even more so when they’re nestled into Valentine’s Bark!

DSC 0055 2 600x400 ghirardelli valentines bark + free printable

Step 6: Let your bark set (I set it in the refrigerator because I’m impatient like that). In the meantime, gather your packaging supplies.

chocolate bark recipe 3 415x600 ghirardelli valentines bark + free printable

Like the gold and black geometric hearts I used? Good news-I’m offering them as a free printable!

happy valentines day tags 2 480x600 ghirardelli valentines bark + free printableClick here to download these Happy Valentine’s Day tags! They’ll print 4 to a sheet of 8×10 cardstock.

Step 7: Once the bark is cool, use a sharp knife to cut into pieces. I like my bark cut into random shapes-no perfect squares here! Bag up, add a tag, and you’re done!

chocolate bark recipe 2 400x600 ghirardelli valentines bark + free printable

I just love how these turned out, what a fun gift for the special people in your life!

I’d love to know-what’s YOUR favorite way to bake with Ghirardelli products?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

DoTerra Oils Logo ghirardelli valentines bark + free printable

ad ghirardelli valentines bark + free printable  cts ghirardelli valentines bark + free printable  fb ghirardelli valentines bark + free printable


homemade granola bars {snack healthy in the new year!}

 homemade granola bars {snack healthy in the new year!}

granola bar recipe 2 530x600 homemade granola bars {snack healthy in the new year!}
New Year’s resolutions: they’re easy to make but difficult to maintain. And for the many Americans who resolve to eat healthier in the New Year, focusing on healthy snacks is an easy way to improve the quality of your diet, especially when you add the Feel Good Fruit (can you guess?!) to your favorite snacking recipes.

granola bar recipe 400x600 homemade granola bars {snack healthy in the new year!}

I challenged myself to create a healthy, yet delicious, snack recipe using some of my favorite Sunsweet®  products:

DSC 0073 2 464x600 homemade granola bars {snack healthy in the new year!}

I’ll be honest with you- this was my first attempt at homemade granola bars, but I was so, so pleased at how they turned out. If you’ve been wanting to try your hand at them, this step-by-step recipe should give you the confidence you need to try them. You won’t be sorry.

DSC 0077 3 600x481 homemade granola bars {snack healthy in the new year!}

This may look like a lot of ingredients, but I honestly had most of them on hand (your probably do, too).

Ingredients:

5 c. Old Fashioned Oats
4 tbsp. Melted Butter
1/4 c. Canola Oil
1 tsp. Salt
1 c. Brown Sugar
1/2 c. Honey
1/4 c. Sunsweet®  Plum Smart
1/4 c. Molasses
3 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1.5 c. Rice Cereal
1/4 c. Sunsweet®  Dried Diced Plums
1/4 c. Other Dried Fruit
1/4. c. Chopped Almonds
1.4 c. Chopped Pistachios
1/2 bag Chocolate Chips for Dipping (Optional-but highly recommended!)

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the melted butter, oil and salt, and stir in your oats. Spread on a large baking sheet, and toast for 15 minutes or so, stirring every 5 minutes so they don’t burn. Remove pan and let cool. Once cool, add to large bowl.

DSC 0078 600x400 homemade granola bars {snack healthy in the new year!}

Step 2: Reduce over to 325 degrees. In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, honey, juice and molasses. Heat the mixture slowly, stirring until combined. Stir in the vanilla, remove from heat.

DSC 0082 2 400x600 homemade granola bars {snack healthy in the new year!}

Step 3: To the bowl of oats, add the rice cereal, diced plums, other dried fruit, almonds and pistachios. Mix together. Slowly pour in the sugar mixture, stirring as you pour. It’ll be nice and sticky at this point.

DSC 0090 600x456 homemade granola bars {snack healthy in the new year!}

 

DSC 0094 600x400 homemade granola bars {snack healthy in the new year!}
Step 4: Line a pan with foil (I used the same pan I toasted my oats in), and spray with nonstick spray (important!!). Press the mixture into your pan, pressing into shape, and bake for 20-25 minutes. They’ll be soft when you remove them from the oven, but they’ll harden as they cool. Once they cooled for a few minutes, I removed the granola (foil and all), onto the counter to cool a bit faster.

DSC 0100 417x600 homemade granola bars {snack healthy in the new year!}

 

Step 5: Once cool, remove foil from the granola. Cut into either squares or rectangles.

DSC 0101 2 414x600 homemade granola bars {snack healthy in the new year!}

DSC 0103 2 600x437 homemade granola bars {snack healthy in the new year!}

Step 6: Time to get dipping! Slowly melt chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. If you don’t melt slowly, the chocolate won’t harden, so take your time! I melted my chips for 30 seconds at 50% power, gave them a stir, put them back in for 20 seconds at 50% power, and stirred until they were melted fully. Chocolate chips can retail their shape even when melted, that’s why stirring is so important to see when they’re done. Dip bars halfway into chocolate, then place on parchment to set.

DSC 0097 600x450 homemade granola bars {snack healthy in the new year!}

chocolate dipped granola bars homemade granola bars {snack healthy in the new year!}

And you’re done!

sumsweet plums 2 478x600 homemade granola bars {snack healthy in the new year!}

I’m so happy with how these turned out (my kids are, too)! And the Sunsweet® prunes and juice added such great flavor and nutrition to this recipe. Sunsweet®  products are an easy fix to help you stick with your healthy eating resolutions for 2015. Here’s a little bit I recently learned about Sunsweet®:

    • PlumSmart® Light: This juice is made from a special variety of fresh, juicy plums and has only 60 calories and 15g of carbs, and helps you stay fit on the inside by providing a good source of fiber. PlumSmart Light is a great addition to a smoothie.
    • Amaz!n™ Prunes: These little gems are a good source of fiber for only 100 calories per serving. Amaz!n Prunes are nature’s perfect way to feel good with nutrition and delicious taste. Prunes also have a low glycemic index, which means they keep you feeling fuller longer. They add a powerful boost of nutrition and fiber to snack time or your favorite recipe.
    • Amaz!n™ Diced Prunes: Grab a handful of these delicious diced prunes for nutritious snacking. One serving of Amaz!n Diced Prunes is a good source of fiber for only 100 calories. Add to your favorite snacking recipe for extra fiber and a fruit flavor boost.

sunsweet plums 400x600 homemade granola bars {snack healthy in the new year!}

I’m so glad I overcame my hesitation and tried these out–it’ll be hard to buy store-bought granola bars again!

Thanks for reading!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

 
DoTerra Oils Logo homemade granola bars {snack healthy in the new year!}

ad homemade granola bars {snack healthy in the new year!}  cts homemade granola bars {snack healthy in the new year!}  fb homemade granola bars {snack healthy in the new year!}


celebrate the year of the skinny nut!

 celebrate the year of the skinny nut!

The New Year is here and there’s no better time to refocus on healthy, attainable eating habits to make 2015 your best year yet. Today, I hope to inspire your healthy eating goals by sharing one of my favorite new and satisfying snack pairings, featuring everyone’s favorite Skinny Nut™-pistachios!

pistachio snack 2 celebrate the year of the skinny nut!

pistachio brie 477x600 celebrate the year of the skinny nut!

Pistachios, a top food trend for 2015 and considered to be “The Nut of the Year”, are known as the “Skinny Nut” because they’re one of the lowest calorie, lowest fat nuts and offer more nuts per serving compared to most other snack nuts, and among the highest in protein. I paired my pistachios with creamy brie, juicy pomegranate seeds, and a pomegranate iced green tea for a satisfying, yet health-conscious snack option.

pistachio snack 460x600 celebrate the year of the skinny nut!

Pistachios make a great, everyday healthy snacking choice for people looking to satisfy a salty snack craving the smart way, and still do something good for themselves. Enjoy 30 pistachios for about 100 calories for a snack that offers both crunch and seasoning, making them a satisfying snack choice.

And here’s a fun tidbit to keep in mind: in-shell snacks (like pistachios!) provide visual cues and may slow consumption: The premise is that consumption of in-shell pistachios may help to slow eating when compared to shelled pistachios because the leftover shells may offer an important visual cue about the amount consumed; thereby potentially reducing calorie intake.

pistachio snack 3 600x400 celebrate the year of the skinny nut!

Be sure to enter The Year of the Skinny Nut Sweepstakes hosted on the Pistachio Health Institute Facebook page for a chance to win a year supply of pistachios and start 2015 in style! Sweepstakes runs through January 31.

DSC 0052 438x600 celebrate the year of the skinny nut!

So you’ve seen what I like to pair in-shell pistachios with, now it’s your turn! What snack items with you pair with pistachios to create the perfect pairing?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

ad celebrate the year of the skinny nut!  cts celebrate the year of the skinny nut!  fb celebrate the year of the skinny nut!