Tis the Season for DIY

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Tis the Season for DIY

Super easy, quick and fun Christmas d.i.y. with the kids today. Inexpensive and can be made into a sweet treat to hand out to tons of people, making each gift costs less than a dollar. Toss in a nice cellophane bag and throw a bow on it and you’ll brighten a lot of days with minimal blow to your wallet! Also, the work labor is cheap because you can pay them in decorated pretzels.

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. Melt chocolate or get the chocolate melts at your local store(they come in a ton of colors and flavors, so I totally recommend). Melt your choice following the instructions on the bag and then hand dip each pretzel and place on parchment while your children go nuts and throw sprinkles all over the place!! (I rolled up towels and placed around the edges of the parchment so nothing would go ricocheting across the room and I wouldn’t be sweeping up sprinkles all the way until 2014.)
Wait until cool and dry and then tuck them away between layers of parchment or throw them right in our cellophane bags and head right out the door.

Make sure you dip the broken pretzels in the chocolate and eat them. This verifies nothing is poisonous and this is a necessary step in the making. I promise.

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Date Night

Since Mr McDorkins parents are in town, they’ve deemed that we need to go out on dates. Last night, I wanted to come up with a unique idea, since usually our date night consists of Epcot and gorging on anything we can grab. As Baby McDorkins played in the shower, with the pressure on low and a ton of cups, I sat on the toilet and looked up “orlando fl date night”. I actually found a few blogs where people write about their dates in the area and what they thought of them.

My interest meter went up when I saw there was a place to take a culinary lesson. $70. Each. To cook your own food. Ummmmm…The meal they described… you could make it for a fraction of the price. AND I’d much rather sit on my butt, pay half and have someone serve it to me.

The next thing I saw was SO perfect. Chocolate making. I have been craving chocolate with every cell of my body lately!! I called and made a reservation right away!  Since it the address included a suite number, I figured we could walk to a restaurant and back to the shop for dinner. Plus, I was sort of familiar with the area and I knew there was everything under the sun, concentrated.

The chocolate making is at a sort of weird time, 7pm to 9pm. So, we left the house early and since neither of us had a real lunch, we were pretty happy to get our eat on. It was pretty easy to locate and at first we drove along looking at the neighboring businesses and parked so we could look at menus and such.

After walking all the way passed where we began, we decided on Greek Flame Taverna. They had the music cranked up and it looked immaculate inside. We ordered some sparkling water and chose our meals.

The food was really yummy. My dish, the grouper, shrimp and scallops was a little less flavorful than I’d have liked, but it let me enjoy the flavors of each item.  The side dishes were also unbelievable.

We loitered, I drank a hot tea and then we walked over to the chocolate shop. We were a couple minutes early but the guy working there was very nice and showed me where the bathroom was(too much hot tea and seltzer!!) and told us we could sit where we would like. Then we waited a few minutes for the other couple that had a reservation.  They were still tardy so he went on with the demo.

I was wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, watching him. I marched in front of the ingredients like I wanted to be professional about this. Then, we got to work. Peanut butter cups, coconut, nutella, almonds, macadamia, truffles, cookies covered in chocolate and chocolate molds. So. Much. Fun.

It started at 7pm and we left shortly before 9pm.  It was only $29 per couple, 1lb of chocolate comes free and any additional that you make, they charge you a reduced price. We made about 2lbs of chocolate and the cost came to about $46 all together.

Now……PHOTOS!!

The website of this chocolate shop is http://www.farrisandfosters.com/

We went to the Dr Phillips location. I believe all of the locations are central to Orlando, Florida.

Black Bean Chocolate Cake

With the birthday season in my house quickly approaching, I have been pinning and reviewing recipes that are a bit healthier than the traditional recipes I have used.  A friend of mine posted a black bean chocolate cake recipe she had recently found and tried and I decided, after reading about the black bean brownies and the such, maybe they were on to something. 

http://www.grouprecipes.com/118314/black-bean-flourless-chocolate-cake.html

I was happy to try a gluten free cake since I have been trying to stay away from wheat. I have been bad and ate wheat for 2 days in a row and I feel like someone has kicked me in the stomach and I am suffering greatly for my gluttonous choices.

I did make a few little changes to the recipe above. I took it down from 5 whole eggs to 3 and added 2 egg whites. I also didn’t add additional salt, since baking soda and baking powder already have sodium in them. So, here it is…

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Black Bean Chocolate Cake

2 cups black beans(I used dried beans, rehydrated and cooked as normal)

3 large eggs

2 egg whites

1 tbs vanilla

1 Tbs water

6 tbs melted butter, or extra virgin coconut oil or olive oil

3/4 cup sugar

6 tbs baking cocoa

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 and grease your pan how you like it. I used coconut oil all around.

I cooled my cooked beans and threw them in the processor with all of the wet ingredients(eggs, vanilla, water, coconut oil) and processed them down until they were a liquid with skin chunks. Sound sexy? In a large bowl, I mixed the dry ingredients. I poured the wet ingredients into the bowl and mixed until completely combined(I would have used the processor but mine is small and wouldn’t fit it all, sadly).

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Pour it into the greased pan and pop it in the oven. It bakes for 50 minutes at 350. Take it out, let it cool, remove from pan.

They say, in the link, to leave it overnight for the best flavor, so I did. But I was a nimrod and didn’t remove it from the pan, so it became a crumbly mess and we are sort of digging it out to taste it. If I could make any other changes, I would reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe. It’s very sweet to me and I think a rich chocolate topping would me amazing on this and would probably send it way over the edge for sweetness. I’ve never really had a sweet tooth, though, so you can make that call. I’d make it again, but I’d remember to take it out of the pan before it was fully cooled and inhabiting the tin it was in. 

So far, everyone has really liked it, Mr McDorkin and Baby McDorkin have both inhaled a good amount. I think there is a slight aftertaste– to me it just tastes like it was made with artificial sweeteners, maybe just because it was too sweet. 

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