Guest Recipe: Arctic Cookie Mash

Edible Epiphanies recently ran a “Healthy Dessert Contest” for the chance to win a FREE pint of Arctic Zero! I was overwhelmed with the incredibly delicious and creative recipes that my community members submitted, and it was nearly impossible to choose just one. A unique recipe by Ralph Esposito of Danbury, CT made my mouth water and I knew this was the recipe I had to try. The contest winner was kind enough to share his creation with the Edible Epiphanies community, so check it out, try it out and let me know what you think!

Quest into the Arctic Cookie Mash

Quest into the ‘Arctic Cookie Mash’

Ralph Esposito

Ingredients:

Cookie Dough Quest Protein Bar:
     – Cut into small circles uses an apple corer
Cookies & Cream Arctic Zero
Protein Frosting:
     – 1/2 scoop chocolate pea protein
     – 1/4 tsp cocoa powder
     – 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
     – Sprinkle of cinnamon
     – Add water to frosting consistency 1 tsp at a time

Directions:

Top the Quest cookie dough and Arctic Zero with the frosting, and mix. You have your smart Arctic Cookie Mash! This is one of my favorite pseudo-cheat meals. It takes a quick five minutes to prepare, it’s a great study break snack for your brain, and it won’t put you in a sugar crash moments later. Enjoy!

For more details on Edible Epiphanies next contest, visit and LIKE Edible on Facebook or FOLLOW Edible on Twitter.

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Bed Time Bites

Remember that one time you were up late watching the latest episode of “Amazing Race” and all of a sudden you had a craving for something sweet? Of course you can, because it was probably last night! Since I work around-the-clock to provide you with the latest and greatest in health information, I am a diehard late-night muncher, and over the years, I have learned to make sensible choices when reaching for something to satisfy my cravings.

Whether you’re sitting on the couch in your living room or laying comfortably in bed with the television on and minutes ticking away into the night, it happens often that you start to realize it’s been a few hours since dinner. This is when you need to eat something small that will tide you over until you finally retire for the night.

Multigrain PuffinsMy go-to snack for this time of night is cereal! NOT the sugary, powdered, sweetened, glazed varieties that are more likely to leave you feeling energized and uncomfortable rather than rested and full, but smarter choices that are high in fiber and low in sugar, like Barbara’s gluten-free Multigrain Puffins. A small serving close to bedtime is perfectly fine, but makes sure you don’t overdo it, because consuming large amounts of carbohydrates immediately before hours of rest may actually do more harm than good.

Here’s why: When you eat carbohydrates, the digestive system breaks down the digestible ones into sugar, which then enters the blood. As blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas produces insulin – a hormone that prompts cells to absorb blood sugar for energy or storage. As cells absorb blood sugar, levels in the bloodstream begin to fall and the pancreas starts making glucagon – a hormone that signals the liver to start releasing stored sugar. When all this happens right before you’re about to remain sedentary for 6-8 hours or more, then the body will store the sugar as fat.

While there is much debate surrounding the issue of when to eat carbohydrates, which carbs to eat, which to avoid, and whether they make you gain weight, the bottom line is – it’s not the best to over-do it on any foods high in carbohydrates or sugar right before bed, so remember the key: MODERATION!

When your cupboard is bare or you’re just not in the mood for cereal, here are a few other sources of nutrition for those late-night snack times.

Homemade Trail Mix

Trail Mix

My homemade trail mix is completely customizable based on your preference and dietary restrictions, but one option I recommend includes banana chips, golden raisins and carob chips for a lot of sweet, a little soft, and a bunch-a-crunch…without the guilt! For those of you who like nuts in your trail mix, try mixing in some unsalted walnuts or cashews for added crunch, protein and healthy fat. 

The best thing about this snack is you can add in whichever low-calorie foods you like, including dried fruit or nuts, as long as you don’t GO nuts ; )

Cottage PeachCottage Peach

Another option if you’re craving something a little more hearty is a scoop of nonfat cottage cheese mixed with sliced canned peaches (the “light” variety that come in water or light syrup). This gives you a healthy dose of protein and satisfies that sugar craving with a light, low-sugar helping of fruit!

Salty Satisfaction

If you prefer a salty snack over a sweet treat, one of the healthiest, gluten-free routes you can go is to choose a low-salt, low butter-content variety of popcorn. This is a great way to fill up on a high-fiber snack that is not too high in carbohydrates. A great choice here is Newman’s Own Organics, which makes a variety of low-fat, lightly salted, gluten-free options that won’t undo your day!

Share your favorite healthy late-night snack in Comments below!

A Valentine’s Treat You Won’t Regret in the Morning

It’s that time of year again for couples to make an excuse to recognize their love with cheesy Hallmark cards, fattening treats and an over-priced night on the town. It may sound like I am being a bit cynical, but the truth is, I’m just being realistic. It’s a cliché to say that every day is Valentine’s Day at Edible Epiphanies, but I sure do enjoy a lot of love here, and those of you in happy, solid relationships out there can agree that this can and should be the case!

What may tend to stray on this lovely holiday is your diet. You may think: What’s an extra Godiva chocolate or a second slice of cake on this one day that I can let it go and my better half won’t judge? While I highly advocate splurging a little every now and again, you can still enjoy some decadent treats without going overboard and feeling full of regret later.

One of my all-time favorite go-to treats for Valentine’s Day is the beautifully simple chocolate-covered strawberry. This delicious and not-too-unhealthy treat is perfect for any Valentine in your life. While I typically opt for the basic recipe, this year, I decided to give it a little something extra.

Black-and-White Drizzled Strawberry Recipe:

Thoroughly wash a dozen fresh strawberries (leave the stems on), lay them on a paper towel and pat them dry. Set aside.

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.

Pour one cup of milk chocolate chips into a bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Take out and stir with a fork, and microwave for another 30 seconds until completely melted. Set aside. Then pour one cup of white chocolate chips into another bowl and do the same.

Dip one clean, dry strawberry into the milk chocolate until ¾ of the strawberry is completely covered.

chocolate covered strawberry

Place onto the aluminum foil-covered cookie sheet. Repeat with five more strawberries and place them one inch apart.

Do the same with the other six strawberries, except instead of dipping them into the milk chocolate, dip them into the white chocolate. You can place them on the same pan if there is room.

white chocolate strawberries

Put the sheet of the strawberries into the freezer for one hour until the chocolate solidifies. When they are ready, pull them out and set aside. Re-microwave the leftover chocolate in the bowls to soften.

Take a fork and dip it into the milk chocolate – drizzle over the white chocolate-covered strawberries by drawing a line back and forth over the strawberry. Do the same with the reverse flavors and you’re done! They will need another hour or so in the freezer to solidify.

chocolate covered strawberriesI hope you enjoy these delicious treats and welcome you to share your own favorite Valentine’s recipes in comments below!

Rainy Day Waffles

It’s pouring rain outside, you switch on your favorite cheesy reality show and you are so tucked into the three blankets that are layered on top of you that you can’t even bear the thought of getting up to use the bathroom if the need arises. Winter has finally arrived and the rainy season is hitting us harder over the next three days than it has in the past three months, so why not take advantage and take a lazy timeout? The only thing missing from this perfectly designed weekend of total relaxation? Delicious snacks, of course!

What I love most about food is that it can be completely tailored to your mood, the weather, the occasion or even who you’re with. It’s like make-up or art – whatever state you’re in or the surroundings around you, your meal can pair perfectly. On gloomy, rainy, chilly days, I find the best snacks are a little fattening, a little warm and always sweet!

Thus, I present:

Rainy Day Waffles

Ingredients:

  • Two Buttermilk Eggo Waffles
  • A Half Ripe Banana
  • Two Tablespoons Maple Syrup (light or low-sugar)
  • Two Tablespoons Cool Whip (light or fat-free)

Directions:

Toast the waffles until light brown and place on a plate.

Cut up the half banana into thin slices and spread half of the slices across one waffle and half across the other.

waffles with bananasPour one tablespoon of syrup over the bananas on one waffle and one over the other.

waffles with bananas and syrupFinally, top each with a dollop of Cool Whip!

rainy day wafflesVariations to this recipe make it a bit healthier – for example, you can skip the maple syrup or use cottage cheese or nonfat vanilla yogurt instead of Cool Whip.

In any case, set the waffles as your canvas and load on the topping artwork for a sweet treat that satisfies all your cravings!

A Classic Treat with Flare!

Well, another Christmas has come and gone, and while the champagne bottles stand half empty and the gift wrap is neatly packed away until next December, my recipe book is one page fuller. I was so excited to learn a new “cookie” recipe that I would have never tried, had I not learned about it from a fellow health foodie! These whimsical Christmas wreath treats are light and fun, making even the most adamant sweets avoiders succumb to their temptation. This recipe takes the classic “Rice Krispie Treat” and dresses it up with a little holiday flare.

Holiday Wreath TreatsCorn Flake Wreaths

Ingredients:

  • 6 Cups Corn Flakes
  • 1 Bag Mini Marshmallows
  • 1/3 Cup Butter
  • Green Food Coloring
  • Red Hot Candies

Directions:

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat and slowly mix in your marshmallows. Stir together until completely melted and mix in drops of food coloring until you reach your desired hue. Pour the six cups of Corn Flakes into a large bowl and stir in your heated marshmallow mixture until all the Corn Flakes are coated. Butter your fingers to prevent sticking as you shape the wreaths and place them onto a greased or wax paper-covered cookie sheet.

Shape your wreaths, place them onto your sheet and stick the Red Hot candies onto the warm treats as desired (three or four per wreath works best).

Refrigerate until hard and enjoy! It’s that simple!

Here are a few tips I learned as I prepared these treats for the first time:

  1. Make sure you don’t use more Corn Flakes or fewer marshmallows – it’s better to have enough marshmallow coating on the wreaths so they stick together and the candies stay on.
  2. Make sure to butter your fingers before working with the treats. They will stick to your hands, making it very difficult to form!
  3. When adding the food coloring, go darker rather than lighter. You may think you have the “right green” when you’re only looking at the marshmallow mixture, but once you mix in the Corn Flakes, the cereal’s color will show through if you do not have a dark enough marshmallow mixture.

Share your favorite holiday treat below!