This peppermint bark is something that my family looks forward to every year. The best part is, along with how good it tastes, it also happens to be pretty easy to make. Most recipes for layered bark call for semi-sweet chocolate, but I prefer unsweetened chocolate instead. Since white chocolate is basically pure sugar, and there is even more sugar added with the candy canes on top, I find it provides a nice contrast between the super sweet white chocolate/candy-cane layer and the bitter dark chocolate underneath. Whether you make this for yourself, or as a gift for others, it will definitely be a big hit!
Candy canes are a staple for many this time of year. They make festive coffee and hot chocolate stirrers and are a favorite addition to holiday treats. However, it can be challenging to find candy canes that aren’t full of corn syrup, artificial dyes, artificial flavors, and other nasty chemicals. While I prefer a natural candy cane because of the iconic shape and colors, you can make a substitute yourself if you can’t get your hands on a high quality candy cane.
Today’s post is in keeping with the typical fall theme of pumpkin spice. When making these cookies, I made sure to work with real ingredients, as usual. One thing I can’t stand is those recipes (that you often see on Pinterest) where the image says something like “Easy Recipe With Only 2 Ingredients.” It sounds interesting until you click and realize that one of the “ingredients” is a box of cake mix. Cake mix is not an ingredient people! I mean, it actually confuses me a bit. How hard is it to measure out flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices? The boxed stuff just doesn’t seem that much more convenient to me, especially when you consider the quality of ingredients that are typically used.
Since I purchased the popsicle mold I mentioned here, I’ve been enjoying my healthy frozen treats often, as a snack or after-dinner dessert. This recipe uses one of my favorite fruits, the watermelon. I can eat and eat and never get tired of it. In college, my roommate once said “You know you live with a dietetics major when you find watermelon seeds in the couch cushions.” It’s just soooo gooood! In addition to highlighting this beloved food, I’ll teach you how to make layered popsicles. They look super fancy and really aren’t all that difficult to make. It takes a little more time and patience, but you’re already in for some waiting if you’re making popsicles anyways. Mine ended up a little uneven on this batch, but I like to just call that “rustic.” The amounts in this recipe are specific to my mold, but you can easily adapt it to whatever mold you have, even if that’s just an ice cube tray.
You’ve likely heard about the danger of trans fats on the news or seen products that proudly display “0 grams of trans fat per serving” on their packaging. But what are trans fats and how bad are they really? First, we need to start with a little chemistry. Fatty acids can either be saturated or unsaturated. These terms refer to the carbon-hydrogen bonds in the fatty acid chain. When a fatty acid is saturated, each carbon in the chain has the maximum number of bonds (4) while unsaturated means that there are less than 4 bonds, resulting in double bonds. So, saturated fats are holding all of the hydrogen they can and unsaturated fats are not. These differences impact the structure of the fat and, therefore, the way it is processed in the body. Trans fats occur when the hydrogens in an unsaturated fat are across from each other rather than next to each other. While this does occur naturally in minimal amounts, the man-made kinds are the ones that have been found to be harmful. In fact, research published in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown that a 2% increase in calories from trans fat increases your risk of heart disease by 23%! Continue reading