Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chocolate Chip Quinoa Trail Mix Balls

OK so this is really healthy compared to my other posts. Well, the chocolate chips help. Anyway I've been going to a Body Works class at LA Fitness for over a year. I look forward to going to this class. If you are a gym rat, then you know the instructor is awesome if you actually look forward to the class. My friends in the class suggested we should make CDs for our instructor's birthday (as a gift for her but so we can hear new music in class = win win). I saw this recipe at Eat, Live, Run and brought it to class for a "healthy Birthday treat".  I knew cupcakes would result in our instructor making us do more squats and lunges - she really cares about our butts. Her saying about our butts is "if you don't care about your butt then no one else will." Too funny!

The recipe was really easy and I was able to double it with no problem. The smell of honey and vanilla on the stove was invigorating! Skip this recipe if you don't like getting your hands dirty and buy packaged trail mix bars.  If you have never heard of quinoa then this is a good way to give it a try and click on the link to learn more about it. Everyone seemed to enjoy them and I had a few requests for the recipe!

Chocolate Chip Quinoa Trail Mix Balls
by Jenna at Eat, Live, Run
makes about 14 bite-sized balls
1 cup old fashioned or quick-cooking oats, dry
1/4 cup quinoa, dry + 3/4 cup water
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup dried cherries, raisins or cranberries
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
Combine the quinoa and water in a small saucepot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 12 minutes, until quinoa has absorbed all the liquid. Fluff and scoop quinoa into a large mixing bowl.
Add sunflower seeds, oats, dried cherries and coconut to quinoa and mix well. Bring honey to a simmer on the stove then stir in the vanilla extract and pour on top of nuts and seeds. Mix until well combined.
Let mixture cool before adding the chocolate chips, peanut butter and sea salt. Mix well with your hands so the peanut butter is evenly dispersed but be careful not to melt the chocolate chips!
Using wet hands, gently roll mixture into golf ball-sized balls. Place balls on a plate and chill for at least two hours until firm.
2 1/2 hours (includes time to chill)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Brownie Cupcakes

Last week I went to the Food Truck Festival in Athens, GA and finally checked out the Yum Yum Cupcakes and More truck. I sampled the Betty cupcake which was a brownie cupcake with ducle de leche buttercream. It was amazing! My dad didn't try it but requested that I make brownie cupcakes for Easter.

I found a Chocolate Brownie Cupcake recipe at Then I apparently left my brain some where because when I got to my parents house I realized that I left the shortening and meringue powder at my house. Luckily I found this wonderful buttercream recipe at and halved the recipe because the cupcake recipe only yielded 12 cupcakes. Also, I added caramel sauce to the buttercream. On a few cupcakes I drizzled more caramel which was a mistake because it was too much caramel that affected the flavor of the chocolate chips in the cupcake - may just be personal taste or the fact that Ghirardelli semi-sweet chips were baked inside the cupcake. Cake Art is a store down the street from me and that is where I found the adorable flowers you see sticking up in the middle of the cupcakes. The cupcake liners are from Target. Thanks mom for providing the Easter decorations. So cute!

All in all these cupcakes are delicious. I would suggest making them at  your next gathering!

Brownie Cupcakes


  1. 3/4 cup flour
  2. 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  6. 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  7. 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  8. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  9. 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  10. 3 eggs
  11. 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 325F and use muffin pan lined with paper liners.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together granulated and brown sugars and butter until smooth. Whisk in vanilla and almond extract. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture, beating until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Scoop batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 28 minutes or until a tester inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs attached and a little melted chocolate. The tops of cupcakes will not spring back when touched.
  5. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack.
  6. Top cooled cupcakes with favorite frosting.

Buttercream Icing


  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk


  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, and vanilla. Blend in the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk, and continue mixing until light and fluffy. Keep icing covered until ready to decorate.

Betty Cupcake

Happy Easter!