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!

Designer Dinner

Does food inspire you? Does it make you happy, excited, comforted, relieved? My answer to these questions is a resounding YES. I started Edible Epiphanies because I have always had a strong relationship with food. The traditional kinds make me think of life as I was growing up or surrounding the dinner table on Christmas Day. The cold and frosty kind makes me smile as I snuggle up on the couch after a long day of work and enjoy spoonful after spoonful of my favorite frozen yogurt. The garden variety – organic and freshly plucked from the ground – gives me a feeling of absolute health and energizes me to conquer the day.

Food PhotographyThere is absolutely nothing I love more than not only eating a healthy meal, but plating it with such careful design that I feel like an artist! Food styling is an actual career, which I greatly admire and practice regularly as an amateur. I take absolute pride in cooking a meal and even more in strategically placing each ingredient on a plate and turning the dish to frame it just right. I balance herbs and connect proteins like puzzle pieces so each bite is beautiful and collectively adorned.

Food can be the paint that is sprinkled across your palate (or dish) and if you have the passion I do, you can make a masterpiece with each meal you create!

The way you can take a piece of lettuce and float it on the corner of a plate, top it with the swirl of mustard and place it aside a hearty vegetable wrap makes eating your creation an even bigger enjoyment.

We all have our meal rituals. For example, I am absolutely smitten with vegetable wraps, so when I sit down to eat one, I don’t just devour it with indifference. I take my time to diagonally cut cucumber slices to a perfect half-inch thickness, arrange them like dominoes on the side of my plate, and pair them with a few leaves of fresh, green Romaine lettuce. This is met with a carefully measured dollop of spicy mustard that I spread generously across each bite.

When you take the time to actually prepare, create and design your meal, eating it is not just a task or a way to satisfy your grumbling stomach; it’s a way to realize each nourishing bite and discover how beautiful a simple bite can be.

Check out 29 of the best food photos from 2013. Which one is your favorite? COMMENT BELOW!

Frozen Bliss

Everyone has bad days, feels down sometimes or just needs a little bit of comfort to pick them up. For many, that one thing is a favorite song or time with family, which are both at the top of my list, but there is one more thing that always manages to bring a smile to my face here at Edible Epiphanies: frozen yogurt! This creamy, chilly treat is my instant mood-lifter, bad-day eraser and night-time ritual. This simple, yet absolutely powerful dessert brings so much joy and not so much guilt.Frozen Yogurt

About six months ago, a Frozen Yogurt Shop opened within feet of Edible Epiphanies’ headquarters. Even on icy Winter nights, I’d savor spoonfuls of this delicious frozen sweetness. Frozen yogurt is still a somewhat healthy indulgence that doesn’t leave you with the same guilt as a plate full of Oreos or a slice of cheesecake would, and it balances on the line between sugary decadence and a healthful way to wrap up a long day.

When you find that one thing in life that provides such comfort and happiness, making every disappointment or letdown just fade away, you need to embrace it and enjoy it. It’s important to surround yourself with people who make you happy, indulge every-so-often in the little things that make you feel good, and help others in a selfless, loving way. A small cup of yogurt may not seem like much, but when I have a spoon in hand, yogurt in lap and enjoy laughing about some silly little thing from the day, the entire world seems to disappear and nothing exists but that feeling of absolute bliss!

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!

Know Where You’ve Been

WigiliaGiven today is Christmas Eve, I thought it would be fitting to share with you my own family tradition of celebrating Wigilia. This is the “Christmas Eve” holiday celebrated in Poland, and has been a longstanding tradition in my parents’ household since I can remember. My deep-rooted Polish heritage is something I have always cherished, and I am blessed and honored to have such a unique European tradition that comforts me every December 24th.

Wigilia involves beautiful traditional customs, food, sharing, and love, and my mother embraces all of it to make sure we experience it all. Since food is always the best part of any celebration, we’ll start there. Some traditional Wigilia treats include:

  • Borsch (beet soup) with mushroom uszka (small dumplings, translates to “ears” in Polish)
  • Herring in oil and in sour cream (we usually serve this with crackers or bread)
  • Noodles with poppyseeds (egg noodles mixed with a honey/poppyseed coating, served cold)
  • Pierogi (dumplings filled with cabbage and mushrooms)

This tantalizing spread is shared only after the first star lights the evening sky to a table with one extra place setting to accommodate a passerby that may be in need of a warm meal. The dessert is my favorite part of any meal, and you can imagine this culture knows how to do dessert right! My favorites are poppyseed cake, which is similar to the American yule log, only made with a dry bread that is swirled with a sweet poppyseed filling. The other delight is a circular chocolate wafer cookie that can be cut and served in slices or eaten in bites, similar to an American Kit-Kat bar.

From the time I was a little girl to this very day, I think of Wigilia as a tradition that truly sets the tone for the holiday season. I encourage everyone to uphold your own cultural traditions, share them with family and friends, and always remember where you came from. Because, as the wise old saying goes, “You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.”

Happy Holidays everyone!