Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Scones

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Hi friends! I’m back and ready to roll. I promised you I’d have a delicious recipe for you upon my return today and I living up to that promise. At least I hope you find this as delicious as I do.

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February is right around the corner. You know what that means. Valentine’s Day! I love Valentine’s Day, I really, really do. I realize it’s a “made-up” holiday, but what’s wrong with that? It’s a day to give a little extra attention to the significant other in your life, your friends, your family, whoever! (whomever?) 
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As I continue my efforts to improve this here blog o’ mine, I know I need to do a better job of sharing recipes that are relevant and timely. This is something I learned a lot about in school when I wanted to be a journalist. Even as I moved more into the PR/marketing world, the timeliness of a story is key. 
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What good is a perfectly adorable chocolate strawberry scone the day after Valentine’s Day? By then, the fad of chocolate and red and pink colored food has passed. People are already thinking about Easter and St. Patrick’s Day.
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Okay, obviously chocolate is acceptable anytime of year and I’ll take something pink anytime as well. But for the sake of my argument, just go with me on this one. 
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I’m planning ahead for myself so that you can plan ahead too. This would make the perfect breakfast on Valentine’s Day with the bright red strawberries and sweet rich chocolate – a February 14th must-have. Not to mention it’s easy-peasey and comes together in no time. 
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If your loved one “doesn’t like chocolate,” just forgo the final step of dunking the scone into the melty goodness. But don’t be surprised if they then go off and eat the last half of your giant chocolate chip cookie you had been saving for an afternoon snack.

Doesn’t make sense to me either…

Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Scones
(Scones adapted from Eat.Live.Run)

Makes 8 scones

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup milk (I used skim)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped strawberries (about 5 large berries)
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray large cookie sheet with nonstick spray and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine milk, vanilla and chopped strawberries. Stir and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine flours, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk well. Use a handheld pastry mixture to cut in the cold butter pieces. Continue to blend until butter pieces are cut up and well distributed throughout the mixture.
4. Pour the milk and berry mixture into the dry ingredients. Add sour cream. Using a rubber spatula, stir to combine while scraping down the sides as needed.
5. Set entire batch of dough on the cookie tray and pat down so it’s about 3 inches thick. Use a serrated knife to cut dough into triangles. Separate scones evenly on pan, at least 1-2 inches apart. Bake 14-15 minutes. Remove from oven and leave on pan until completely cooled.
6. Meanwhile, add chocolate to a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Let chocolate begin to warm for 1-2 minutes then begin to stir continuously until all morsels are melted. One at a time, dip the scones upside down into pan. Gently turn back over and let cool on wire rack or sheet of foil. Let cool at least 10-15 minutes before serving.

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Vanilla Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

That football game last night. 
Yeah.
You’re either really happy or…well, let’s just not go there.
Then again, I bet some of you couldn’t care less. Am I right or am I right?
Whether you’re celebrating the win, trying to forget the loss, or don’t even know who the heck played in the game (you might be saying, “Wait – what game and why are you still talking about it?? All I know is that The Bachelor was on last night.”)
…we all have one thing in common.

You have to eat breakfast! Okay, so you don’t have to. But you really should. So can I make a recommendation? Baked oatmeal. 
Ever since I made Apple Walnut Baked Oatmeal, I have been trying new variations like crazy. I just can’t get enough of it.  The possibilities really are endless. And this is only the beginning. You just wait to see what else I have in store. 

Vanilla Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
(Inspired by Apple Walnut Baked Oatmeal and Peanut Butter Fingers)

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:
1 cup rolled oats
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini loaf pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, whisk oats, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and baking soda.
3. In a seperate small bowl, whisk applesauce, almond milk and vanilla.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir to combine. Fold in blueberries (don’t be afraid to smash some while you’re mixing!).
5. Pour mixture into loaf pan and bake 18-20 minutes. Top of loaf will be golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool in pan about 5 minutes. Serve hot.

~About 420 calories in the ENTIRE loaf!!~
…210 per serving…

Mini White Chocolate Blackberry Pies

Soooo. 
Let’s talk about work. I thought it was going to be rough getting back into work again. Even though, as I mentioned the other day, I was looking forward to a normal schedule and routine, the thought of work after a long vacation was not pleasing to my brain. 
For some reason, the transition has been surprisingly okay though.

Maybe it’s because I have a full month of more fun things planned like my step sister’s wedding back home in Columbus, followed by our good friends’ wedding in New Orleans. 
Maybe it’s because reality is starting to set in that my very own wedding is in about 4 1/2 months. That’s still more than a third of the year, but it seems so soon to me. After not doing too much planning for the past several weeks, I all of a sudden feel like there are 100 things I can be doing and it’s getting really fun again. 

Or maybe it’s because it’s January and it’s in the 50’s/60’s outside. Even though I’m still cold most of the time because I’m just weird like that, I am so thankful to be back in Charleston after spending part of Christmas in Columbus where temperatures dropped well below 30 degrees every day. That was a lot of capital letter C’s in the same sentence, but here’s some more: Cold. Cold. Cold. 
No thank you.

Anyway. I know it is only a matter of days until I’m wishing I was back on vacation, but for now I’m going to embrace this feeling. 

And eat a mini pie while I’m at it.  

Mini White Chocolate Blackberry Pies
Makes 14-16 pies
Ingredients:
1 package refrigerated pie crusts (two crusts total)
1 cup fresh blackberries, roughly chopped
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl, add blackberries and sugar. Stir to combine and let sit about 30 minutes (this will really help to bring out the juices).
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick spray and set aside.
3. Roll out the pie dough and cut into 3-4 inch circles (a cookie cutter will work best, but cut by hand with a knife if you need to). Lay half of the circles on the greased cookie sheet, leaving 1-2 inches between each one. Use a spoon to scoop blackberry mixture on top of each pie crust circle. Place another cut-out on top of each filled crust. Use a fork to seal around the edges. Slice three small slits across the top of each sealed pie.
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crusts are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool about five minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool at least another 15 minutes.
5. While cooling, prepare white chocolate drizzle by melting chocolate chips in the microwave according to package directions. Immediately drizzle on top of each pie. Serve warm.

*Store any leftovers in airtight container for 2-3 days.

Light Meals and Pancake Wine

Today I have one of those “what I ate” posts for you. I know, I know…What I really need to do is get myself in the kitchen, put an apron on, and bake something sweet. It’s been too long. And it is about time I go all out to make up for lost time.

Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow.

Until then, here are some tasty ideas for everyday eating.

As part of my lunch yesterday, I had cottage cheese mixed with blueberries and strawberries.

I have always liked cottage cheese, but mostly only ate it plain, with salt and pepper shaken on top. At some point in the past year or so, I saw someone mix berries into cottage cheese and gave it a try. Now that is by far my favorite way to eat it. 
The center of my lunch was this wrap. I stayed at my desk to eat, which usually works out fine if I don’t have something too messy or that doesn’t need much preparation. 
I allowed myself a little bit of meat to make this wrap more substantial. Into the whole wheat tortilla went two slices of deli sliced buffalo chicken breast, roasted red pepper hummus, chopped onion, tomato and spring mix greens. Yum. So fresh and light. The best kind of lunch!
By the time dinner rolled around, Greg and I were more indecisive than usual. Stay home? Go out? If we go out, where should we go? The options in Charleston are endless.
Greg finally made the executive decision to go to one of our favorites places, Coleman Public House

Old trusty CPH never let’s us down. I was in the mood for something lighter for my entree since we ordered some Truffle Parmesan French Fries as an appetizer, and I knew I’d be helping Greg with his mac and cheese 😉 I ordered the Greek Salad, my first salad ever from CPH, and just like everything else I’ve had, it was delicious. 
We got home after dinner and I poured myself a glass of this white wine from Trader Joe’s that I had opened the night before while having a girls night with a friend.

I think you can guess the reason why I bought it in the first place. I am more of a red wine girl, but really enjoyed this white. Especially for less than five dollars. It had nothing to do with the name though. Nope, not at all.
I woke up this morning and got my workout out of the way, because in about twenty minutes I’m leaving to try on wedding dresses! Since the shop I’m going to is right by the new Chipotle in town, I’m thinking it only makes sense to pick up a burrito bowl for lunch. 
Just one good thing followed by another….
Life is good.

Oat and Berry Yogurt Parfait

Goooooood morning! Do you like breakfast? I love breakfast. Not only BFD, but early morning breakfast too. I usually alternate between oatmeal and cereal with almond milk (Kashi Go Lean Crunch is my fave), and then an apple or banana mixed in or on the side.

For the last several weeks I have been on a yogurt parfait kick. I think it started at the blogger meet-up breakfast a while back, when I got the Blueberry Breakfast Parfait. I have always liked yogurt, but had forgotten how versatile it can be. There are so many different combinations of toppings and mix-ins to make a simple bowl of yogurt more interesting.

This is more of a non-recipe recipe…it’s nothing that requires baking, cooking, mixing, or even preparing in advance. Just pour a little yogurt in the bowl and top with the rest.

I enjoyed this particular combination so much I just wanted to share. Don’t mind me while I lick my bowl clean.

What goes into your favorite yogurt parfait?

Oat and Berry Yogurt Parfait

Makes 1 parfait

Ingredients:
1 cup strawberry yogurt
1/4 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 banana, sliced
1/4 cup oatmeal, cooked
1-2 teaspoons honey

Directions:
1. Pour yogurt into a small bowl.
2. Top with remaining ingredients in no particular order.
3. Enjoy!