Candied Orange and Almond Chocolate Truffles

My Grandpa celebrated his 90th birthday this weekend.

Grandpa Earl

This guy is one of my heros. He lost a leg while in the army in his second decade of life, but it never slowed him down. He learned to water ski and snow ski after that and continued to do so until well into his late 70s- early 80s. He even gave us grand-kids lessons on the slope…though, as a child,  I always wondered how he knew how to ski with two skis when he used 3 – one ski and a pair of outriggers.

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Grandpa always knew how to take a good nap…and still does. :)

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I can’t imagine how many books he read to us. They were probably the reason he needed those naps.

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Anna, Grandpa, and me. Just guessing this was December of ’87…

Grandpa is the most positive and upbeat man I know. Even as life gets tougher for him, he’s always got a smile and hug for us and hardly ever complains about things I would say are well worthy of complaint.

Grandpa 2

My sisters made chocolate cupcakes for his 90th birthday party. Not just chocolate cupcakes though, chocolate cupcakes filled with ganache and topped with peanut butter frosting. Yum!

The leftover frosting didn’t last long, but the ganache has been hidden away in the frig for days now. I know, because it keeps calling my name. Last night, I pulled it out and dipped a spoon (or two, who’s counting?) into the bowl, then ate it with candied orange peel. That’s when the truffle idea came to me.

These are so, SO simple, even if you don’t have leftover ganache in the frig calling your name. Ganache is just melted chocolate with a little cream. You can find a recipe for it anywhere and, who doesn’t have chocolate and cream hanging out at their house? (I would get fired if we ran out. Seriously, you should see the looks on people’s faces if we run out of Ghirardelli’s 60% chocolate chips!)

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Now, I won’t expect you to have candied orange peel on hand without a little warning. I honestly never have it around…until last week. See, I made this amazing Fennel Citrus Salad and after cutting off the peel of four organic oranges, I couldn’t bear to throw it all out, so I tossed it in a pot with some water and organic sugar and let it boil down into candied orange strips.

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Well, then I had them calling my name from the cupboard. Sigh...at least ganache and candied orange peel harmonize well.

I figured the only thing missing to make a complete trio would be almonds.

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You just can’t go wrong with chocolate, almonds, and orange. It’s scientifically impossible.

Candied Orange and Almond Chocolate Truffles

  • 1 1/2 c. chocolate ganache
  • 1/2 c. almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 c. candied orange peel, chopped

Fold almonds and orange peel into chocolate. Chill. Roll into balls and dust with unsweetened cocoa powder. Makes approximately 20.

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Nori Seaweed Wraps with Sprouts and Avocado

I don’t know about you, but I like sushi. You probably know I like sushi from my post about Sushi Salad, but sometimes I can’t help repeating myself.

I’m not sure if the kind of sushi I like is technically 100% authentic sushi, but I don’t think it get’s much better than smoked salmon, cream cheese, and avocado – with pickled ginger and wasabi, of course. It doesn’t hurt to add some cucumber in there, too, and maybe some carrot for crunch. My, oh my, that’s good!

I’m not sure why I started off with that sushi rant, except that I’m thinking about seaweed and avocado and the other good things you can make with said ingredients.

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I’m sharing this recipe, or idea rather, that a good friend shared with me, ’cause I think you need it in your life.

Sometimes, we landlubbers just need to eat some seaweed in order to get a taste of the ocean and remember what it’s actually like to dip our toes in the foamy salt water and breath in the smell of fish and sea and sand. Ah, I miss it!

Nori Wraps with Sprouts and Avocado

  • Toasted Nori Seaweed Sheets (You should be able to find these in the Asian section of your grocery store.)
  • cream cheese
  • low-sodium deli turkey, or sardines if you really want to go “ocean”
  • sprouts – I use radish, but alfalfa sprouts from the store would be just as satisfying
  • shredded carrot
  • avocados

Spread cream cheese on one edge of a sheet of nori. Top with remaining ingredients. Roll up tightly and use a little water to seal the end. Repeat until you aren’t hungry any more. It’s that easy!

These pack well for lunches, afternoon snacks, or pre or post-workout meals (depending on your workout philosophy.) Also, the filling possibilities are endless. But you already figured that out, didn’t you?

My readers are just smart like that.

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Sharp Cheddar Cheese Crackers

I’m not sure what it is about me and grocery shopping, but it always makes me hungry. Not the hungry-for-anything kind of hungry, the I-NEED-cheese-crackers kind of hungry. I scan the shelves…Annie’s cheese bunnies? Cute, but never enough cheese. Late July’s buttery crackers sandwiching cheese spread? Still not enough cheese. I want Cheez-its kind of cheesy, only healthy.

Is that too much to ask, world?

Apparently, it is, so I came home and made my own.

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I think you’ll agree that they are better than anything you can find at the store.

I posted this recipe on my Instagram (I finally joined…and shocked my brothers in the process! I’ll be posting short recipes and food inspiration for you over there, so give me a follow if you feel so inclined @cheffingitwithstiritup .), but when a friend asked me to do a post about it, I didn’t hesitate. Can you have too many cheese crackers in your life?

Sharp Cheddar Cheese Crackers

  • 1/4 c. coconut flour
  • 4 oz. shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese – I used Calbot’s
  • 3 T. butter
  • dash of garlic powder
  • dash of paprika
  • as much fresh ground pepper as you please

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and blend together with your hands (or use a food processor) until it looks like this…

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Yes, it’s crumbly, but you should be able to squeeze it into balls. If not, add another tablespoon of butter.  Form into balls and place on parchment paper.

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Press the balls flat using your finger tips to get them as thin as possible.

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Poke holes in them with a fork or toothpick. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Turn the oven off, crack open the door and let them sit in there for about 5-10 minutes to get nice and crispy. Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy!

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