Triple Chocolate No Egg Tiramisu

Chocolate Tiramisu

Tiramisu made even better

On a recent trip to Whole Foods I discovered chocolate extract and chocolate lady fingers! SO, I had to try to make a triple chocolate tiramisu with some melted chocolate. Technically I guess it would be quadruple chocolate with the cocoa powder but since the cocoa powder was mostly a garnish I didn’t count it. I also created an egg-less version to see what it would taste like. I made two versions, one with coffee liqueur and the other with Marsala wine and they taste almost identical so use whatever you have on hand. I know that some people completely omit the liqueur and just use more coffee for dipping the lady fingers as well. The egg-less version is still light, fluffy and not too sweet so you will not miss the eggs at all. I gave some to a friend’s mom who is a tiramisu lover and she gave the recipe two thumbs up. :-) I forgot to take a picture of the whipped cream and chocolate mascarpone cheese being folded together so sorry! Recipe and pictures below:

The ingredients

The ingredients

Dipping liquid

Dipping liquid

Creamy mascarpone

Creamy mascarpone

Soft whipped cream

Soft whipped cream

Melted chocolate + mascarpone

Melted chocolate + mascarpone

First layer

First layer

Layer on the creamy filling all over

Layer on the creamy filling all over and top with grated chocolate. Repeat for second layer

Top with grated chocolate and repeat!

What the finished tiramisu should look like with the cocoa powder on top before being chilled

Triple Chocolate No Egg Tiramisu

Servings: 8-10 servings

Prep Time: 25-30 minutes

Refrigeration Time: 4-8 hours

Recipe Ingredients:

2 boxes of chocolate lady fingers (approximately 40 lady fingers also known as Savoiardi biscuits)

Dipping Liqueur:

1 cup of strong coffee, cooled to room temperature (substitute espresso for a stronger bitter flavor)

1 Tablespoon of chocolate extract (can omit per your preference)

4 Tablespoons of Marsala wine or a coffee flavored liqueur like Kahlua (substitute rum or brandy and if you like a stronger alcohol flavor increase liqueur amount to your preference)

Creamy Filling:

1 lb or 16 oz of mascarpone cheese, softened to room temperature

2 cups of cold heavy whipping cream (heavy cream must be very cold)

½ cup of granulated white sugar (can use 1/3 cup of sugar instead if you prefer less sweet)

2 teaspoons of chocolate extract (or substitute with vanilla extract)

4 oz of semi-sweet chocolate melted and cooled

Chocolate Toppings:

2 oz of grated semi-sweet chocolate, divided

2 teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder

Preparations:

In a small bowl, combine the dipping liqueur ingredients and stir to combine. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl gently stir the softened mascarpone cheese with the cooled melted chocolate using a wooden spoon until well incorporated. Do not overbeat mascarpone because it can curdle. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, pour the sugar, chocolate extract and cold heavy cream into a large bowl and beat on high until soft peaks form. I usually will scrape the bowl mid-way through to make sure the sugar has not settled to the bottom.

Gently fold in the sweetened whipped cream with the chocolate mascarpone mixture until well combined. The mixture will be a brown color with a soft as cloud texture. Haha, I couldn’t think of a better description except for cloud like. This would also be a great frosting to use on other baked goods.

Using a 13×9 sized baking dish quickly dip 20 lady fingers one at a time for a few seconds in the dipping liqueur to create the bottom layer. There should be 10 lady fingers in two rows. Be careful to completely dip each lady finger in the liqueur but only for a few seconds otherwise they will become too soggy and fall apart. BUT there are some people who like a soggy tiramisu so it’s up to you! I like my lady fingers to be soft but still have some texture like a cake. Also, it doesn’t matter if the lady fingers break because you will be covering it with the cream.

Layer and smooth about half the creamy filling over the bottom layer of the lady fingers covering all sides. I like to cover all sides but you don’t have to. Sprinkle about half the grated shavings all over the bottom layer.

Repeat the same process with remaining lady fingers, creamy filling and grated chocolate for top layer. Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder all over top. You can wait to add the cocoa powder as the last step before serving as well. I didn’t really notice a difference in texture.

Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 4-8 hours before serving.

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Healthy Spicy Baked Kale Chips

Kale

Better for you than regular chips!

Whoever thought baked kale could be so addicting? Seriously! I first discovered kale chips at Whole Foods and was intrigued. At first I was a bit hesitant to try them but bought a bag of vegan cheese flavored kale chips (I think they were either dehydrated or baked) and gobbled the whole bag up within 10 minutes of opening. I know, oink oink but they were SO GOOD. Anyhow, my friend Kayla loves kale and she really likes this vegetable kale soup I made last winter so decided to introduce her to the idea of baked kale chips. She is now a convert.

They’re pretty easy to make and you just have to be super careful to make sure they don’t burn in the oven since the leaves are delicate. I just buy a big bag of pre-washed and pre-cut kale from the grocery store and bake it all up including the stems. I actually like the stems, they don’t get crunchy like the leaves but take on a chewier texture. You can omit though. Try using different oils, flavorings and even sprinkling some cheese on top. I think your family will love these new “chips.” Recipe and pictures below:

My ingredients

My ingredients

Mixing it up

Mixing it up

Spread them out

Spread them out

Yum!

Yum!

Healthy Spicy Baked Kale Chips

Servings: 1

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Bake Time: 8-11 minutes

Recipe Ingredients:

2 cups of chopped kale leaves, washed, carefully dried and chopped into bite sized pieces (remove stems if desired – I eat the stems though)

1 teaspoon of garlic infused olive oil (or regular olive oil)

1/8 OR ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper (adjust to your spice level)

1/8 teaspoon of salt (or to your preference)

Preparations:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the chopped kale, oil and seasoning together. Mix well. I usually just use my hands to mix to make sure that the kale leaves are evenly coated with oil.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place an even layer of kale on top.

Bake for 8-11 minutes, stirring the leaves a couple of times to make sure they crisp evenly and do not burn.

 

 

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Korean Short Ribs BBQ “Kalbi / Galbi”

IMG_4457Wish you could smell the deliciousness!

Korean food has definitely become more mainstream with the help of Korean food products being carried in some grocery stores like Trader Joe’s and Costco. Korean food menu items are also popping up in local chain restaurants like California Pizza Kitchen with their Korean Tacos – a take on the popular Kogi Taco Trucks.

My favorite type of Korean BBQ also pronounced as “Kalbi” or “Galbi” is made of beef short ribs cut Korean style. And who do I think makes the best “kalbi?”? My mom! My mom is not only a fantastic cook but she has also owned restaurants in South Korea so is definitely an expert on Korean food. Since my mom cooks without recipes or measurements (probably where I learned it from) I created this marinade by trial and error based on her verbal instructions. Korean beef short ribs are marinated in a sweet soy based sauce, NOT like a teriyaki sauce if that’s what you’re thinking. The sauce is a combo of savory and sweet and will make your taste buds do a happy dance. :-) AND your neighbors will come running when they smell the short ribs cooking on the grill because the aroma is addicting. I hope you enjoy! Recipe and pictures below:

The ingredients

The ingredients

Sliced onions

Sliced onions

Grated pear

Grated pear

Amazing marinade

Amazing marinade

Carnivore galore

Carnivore galore

Meat love

Meat love

Grilling away

Grilling away!

Korean Short Ribs BBQ – “Kalbi or Galbi”

Servings: 4-5 people

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Recipe Ingredients:

4 lbs of Korean style cut beef short ribs (can be purchased in Korean grocery stores with different meat thickness, estimate about 1 lb per person which is about 2-4 pieces for a serving)

½ of a medium sweet or white onion sliced thinly

Marinade:

1 cup of soy sauce (I used low sodium kind)

½ cup of granulated white sugar

2 green onions sliced thin

¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper

1 teaspoon of sesame oil (can use more if you want a stronger sesame flavor)

¼ cup of Mirin sweet cooking Japanese wine (or can use water)

½ cup of freshly grated including juice of an Asian pear (can just add a little more sugar or omit if you want – this just adds another layer of sweetness)

1 teaspoon of toasted sesame seeds (optional, can omit if you want)

¼ teaspoon of dried red chili flakes (optional, can omit if you want)

¼ teaspoon of freshly grated ginger (optional, can omit if you want)

Preparations:

In a medium –sized bowl whisk all marinade ingredients together and set aside.

In a large bowl, tray, casserole dish, or plastic food storage bag place about half the short ribs in and layer with half the sliced onions. Pour half the marinade on top. Repeat with remaining short ribs, sliced onions and marinade.

Refrigerate preferably for 24 hours to marinate. After 10-12 hours, flip the bag or switch the bottom layer of meat with the top to soak in the marinade evenly. If short on time, marinate meat for at least 6-8 hours. I marinate for 24 hours. Once ready to grill, I let the short ribs sit on counter for 15-20 minutes to warm up a bit.

Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high flame/medium-hot and place short ribs on grill after draining excess marinade and onions. The onions will burn so try to scrape off as much as possible. I also lightly pre-oil the grill to help prevent any possible sticking but that’s just my preference.

Depending on thickness of meat, grill about 3-4 minutes for thinner cuts and up to 6-8 for thicker cuts per side. Check if done by sampling one short rib to make sure cooked all the way through. Serve immediately as is or cut up into smaller pieces.

*Growing up, my mom would also pan fry the short ribs on the stove top or bake in the oven and broil as alternate methods to cook the short ribs.*

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Wrestler Mimi

Mimi

Mimi the wrestler

It’s been pretty chilly by California standards so we bundled Mimi up the other day in her favorite faux fur pink winter jacket to go outside. I cracked up because my mom looked at her and said “she looks like a wrestler.” With her chubby little body and fur-lined collar SHE DID sorta look like a tiny wrestler. Haha! Timmy decided she looked comfy in her jacket as well and could double as his personal body pillow which you can tell she’s unhappy about! Heehee :-)

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Grrr……

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Love With Food Box

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Box of goodies

Not only do I LOVE getting food surprises in the mail, I love it even more when it’s for a worthy cause. For Christmas I was given a subscription to a company called Love With Food. Have you heard of them? They deliver gourmet goodies to your door once a month for a $10 monthly subscription. The concept behind Love With Food is that for every purchase made, the company donates a meal to a hungry child. According to their website Love With Food they have donated over $50,000 meals so far which is awesome.

There are several other sites similar to Love With Food where you can pick what type of food boxes interest you. I discovered healthy snack boxes, eco-friendly boxes, gamer related boxes and more. I love the concept behind all of them and think it’s a perfect gift idea for any foodie. Who wouldn’t be stoked to get a present once a month in the mail full of new snacks to try? Personally, I’m THAT shopper who roams grocery stores for hours looking for unique food products so this was the perfect gift idea for someone like me.

Anyhow, on to my box! I was pleasantly surprised to find that the box was actually a little box NOT a big box. Why was I happy about that? Because I was worried about having to try a ton of snacks by myself in addition to everything else I eat! The box was full of individual or small samples of goodies so I didn’t feel bad about not finishing something that I wasn’t crazy about but still wanted to taste. I thought about it and figured that the contents individually cost probably less than $10 BUT when would you ever really go out of your way to find all these items? With that in mind, I think the price is fine.

My box included the following:

Almond Anise Biscotti from Biscotti Di Suzy

Turbana Plantain Chips (lightly salted)

Firecracker ChocoPod from Chuao Chocolatier (sea salt, smoky chipotle and popping candy in dark chocolate)

Gluten-Free Shortbread Tea Cookies from Kyotofu (Genmai Toasted Brown Rice, Matcha Green Tea, Black Sesame)

Tiger Spice Chai from David Rio

Speculous  and Cannelle from NewTree (tiny flavored chocolate bites)  

 AppleStrawberry  Applesauce from GoGo Squeez

Verdict? I really liked the Plantain Chips, the chocolates, the Gluten-Free Shortbread Tea Cookies, and the Tiger Spice Chai. I’ve never been a fan of anise or applesauce so can’t really give a positive rating but think that if you like both flavors then you would probably like both items. I’m actually thinking about the Plantain Chips right now which is always a good sign! I can’t wait for my next food box delivery. :-)

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Baked Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Dippers

Buffalo Chicken

Game Day Fun!

Today is Football Sunday so I had to come up with something tasty for my friends and I think I did it. Want everyone to love you at your Super Bowl party? Want your kids to think you’re a creative genius? Then make some of these gooey and crunchy mini buffalo chicken flavored grilled cheese sandwiches for game day. Baking the sandwiches in the oven is a quick and easy way to make multiple sandwiches at once without having to stand at the stove using a griddle pan. Hey, I even included some veggies in the picture so you can have a well-rounded appetizer/snack! :-) Recipe and pictures below:

My ingredients

My ingredients

Mixing up some chicken

Mixing up some chicken

Buttering the bread up!

Buttering the bread up!

Assemble

Assemble

Ready to be baked

Ready to be baked

Done!

Done!

Baked Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Dippers

Servings: 3-4 sandwiches  

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time: 5-7 minutes each side

Recipe Ingredients:

1 cup of shredded cooked chicken (I like to shred the chicken fine so that the sandwiches stay flat)

6-8 slices of white bread trimmed to the same size of cheese with crusts removed (save crusts and bread trimmings for another use like bread crumbs)

2 Tablespoons of buffalo wing hot sauce of your choice

1 Tablespoon of softened cream cheese

4-5 slices of Pepper Jack cheese

2 Tablespoons of softened unsalted butter

OPTIONAL:

  • Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing for dipping
  • Serve with carrot and celery sticks

Preparations:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a medium-sized bowl combine the chicken, hot sauce and cream cheese mixing until well incorporated. Use a fork to mix and break up the chicken pieces even further to smaller shreds.

Lay all of the slices of bread on a board and lightly butter one side.

Place 3-4 slices of the bread with the buttered side down on a baking sheet. You can also do this on a parchment lined baking sheet for easy clean up.

Lay a slice of pepper jack cheese on top of each slice of bread and divide the chicken mixture filling between the bread slices.

Spread the chicken mixture as evenly as possible on the bread. I like to only use a light layer of chicken filling to keep the sandwiches flat.

Place the remaining bread slices on top with the buttered side up.

Bake sandwiches for about 5-7 minutes until one side is golden brown. Flip the sandwiches over once and lightly press down with the spatula to help cheese adhere to the chicken mixture.

Bake the other side for another 5-7 minutes until golden brown.

Remove sandwiches from baking pan and cut into slices with a sharp knife. Serve immediately.

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Chicken Pesto Protein Style Wraps

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Light, fresh and healthy lunch

I’m still on a pesto loving kick so made these low carb wraps for lunch today with some yummy Super Sweet Baby Bell Peppers I bought from Trader Joe’s. I double wrapped with two Romaine lettuce leaves to up the greens intake and added some fresh berries as dessert. It was a quick, flavorful and satisfying lunch on a busy Saturday. Recipe and pictures below:

My ingredients

My ingredients

Mix it up

Mix it up

Some like tomatoes and some don't!

Some like tomatoes and some don’t! I do

Roll them up and secure with a toothpick

Roll them up and secure with a toothpick = less messy eating

Chicken Pesto Protein Style Wraps

Servings: approximately 4 wraps depending on how much filling you add

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Recipe Ingredients:

1 cup of shredded cooked chicken

8 lettuce leaves (I used Romaine) trimmed to be about the same size

2 Tablespoons of chopped Super Sweet Baby Bell Peppers

2 Tablespoons of pesto (use less if you want a lighter pesto flavor)

1 teaspoon of mayo (low fat or regular)

4 slices of cheese (I used low-fat provolone)

8 thin slices of tomatoes (2 for each wrap or omit if you don’t like tomatoes :-))

Salt and pepper to taste

4 toothpicks

OPTIONAL:

  • Add any veggie combination you like

Preparations:

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the chicken, chopped baby bell peppers, pesto and mayo. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir well to combine.

On a cutting board, arrange 4 of the lettuce leaves to lay flat and place a slice of cheese and two tomato slices on top.

Divide the chicken filling and spread amongst the 4 lettuce leaves.

Place another lettuce leave on top and roll up and secure with a toothpick.

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Spicy OC Salmon Poke

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Fresh, healthy and yum!

I created this recipe for my favorite O.C. Housewife Tamra Barney who lives the epitome of a healthy lifestyle. Not only is she beautiful with a stunning figure but also a savvy businesswoman with the recent launch of her new gym C.U.T. Fitness OC which I can’t wait to go check it out! :-) Since her lifestyle brand focuses on making healthy smart choices from how you eat to how you work out, I thought this would be the perfect recipe created in her honor.

I also do try to workout when I can to counteract all my calories..haha, I really do. Life is all about balance right? You can eat what you want in moderation. One of my goals for 2013 is to be healthy and amp up the workouts once I can get over this nasty flu which has been plaguing me for 6 weeks. I’m a member of the Renaissance ClubSport that has been featured on the Real Housewives of OC, 24 Hour Fitness and also take pilates from my amazing friend Leah who owns Eastbluff Pilates in Newport Beach. Luckily living in the OC where we have great weather most of the time is enough to motivate you to get to the gym. I also really like hiking outdoors and taking different classes to mix it up too.

Great sushi and sashimi can be found all around Southern California as well but you can also make it fresh at home! If you’ve never had salmon poke, I think you will like this recipe. It’s not too heavy soy sauce or sesame oil based like some recipes because I use mostly Ponzu which is a citrus based Asian vinaigrette. It’s perfect as an appetizer or light lunch and is very simple to make so hope you will try it out. Recipe and pictures below:

The ingredients

The ingredients

Freshness

Freshness

Light and flavorful

Light and flavorful

Spicy OC Salmon Poke

Servings: 4-6 as an appetizer

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

Marinade Time: can be eaten immediately or marinate for 30 minutes to intensify flavor

Special Tip: Keep veggies and fish very cold until ready to make for best flavor (one time I was served warm fish and rice at a sushi restaurant and that was NOT good..never went back there again!)

Recipe Ingredients:

1 lb of sashimi grade fresh salmon (I get mine from the local Japanese market) chopped into small pieces

3 Tablespoons of finely chopped or snipped green onions/scallions

3 Tablespoons of thinly sliced and finely chopped cucumbers

2 Tablespoons of thinly sliced and finely chopped sweet onion

½ of a ripe avocado chopped into small pieces

½ Tablespoon of lightly toasted sesame seeds

Marinade: (this makes approximately a little over ½ a cup total marinade and is sufficient for 2 lbs of fish – use only half amount for this recipe)

½ cup of Ponzu sauce (found in Asian aisle of grocery store and is a citrus based vinaigrette type sauce)

2 Tablespoons of soy sauce (I used low sodium kind)

¼ teaspoon of sesame oil (you can use more if you want a stronger sesame flavor)

2-4 teaspoons of Sriracha sauce (Asian hot sauce found in most grocery stores) depending on what spice level you like it

1 finely minced or pressed garlic clove (use 2 if making 2 lbs)

½ teaspoon of finely grated ginger (this is optional so omit if you don’t like ginger)

OPTIONAL:

  • Serve in large soup spoons, 2” cucumber boats (I like Persian cucumbers for this), small cups with a spoon, with tortilla chips or wonton crisps

Preparations:

In a large bowl, gently combine the chopped salmon and veggies.

In another small bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients.

Pour half of the marinade on top of the chopped salmon and veggies. Gently stir to combine.

Serve immediately or keep covered and refrigerated until ready to serve. Fish will darken in color and flavor intensity the longer it sits in marinade.

 

 

 

 

 

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Super Veggie, Egg & Pesto Sandwich

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Whole lotta fresh veggies!

This picture is sort of at an odd angle but it’s been pretty cloudy so I only had like a minute to take a photo which didn’t look like it was in complete darkness. Yes, I need to learn photography and photo editing software so that I can improve! I actually only have my iphone to use as my camera currently. Anyhoooo, this is one of my favorite fresh vegetarian sandwiches because of the PESTO mayonnaise (only a little bit though to keep it on the healthy side). I love pesto and am on a pesto craving craze so you will probably see a few more recipes inspired by pesto over the next few days. The only other person who I know loves pesto more than me is my friend Nicola…..she will eat spoonfuls of it straight!

Fresh or jarred pesto both work and it’s actually probably more cost-effective sometimes to buy pesto pre-made since pine nuts are one of the more pricier ingredients to purchase. If you’re looking for a new Meatless Monday sandwich idea or just want to make something fresh, try this out! Recipe and pictures below:

Fresh ingredients

Fresh ingredients

Layer it up!

Layer it up!

Doesn't that look good?

Doesn’t that look good?

Super Veggie, Egg & Pesto Sandwich

Servings: one sandwich

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Recipe Ingredients:

2 slices of Squaw bread, lightly toasted (or any bread you prefer)

2 Tablespoons of shredded carrots

2-3 thin slices of half a ripe avocado

1 small handful of sprouts (I used crimson clover but use any kind you can find)

½ of a hard-boiled egg thinly sliced (or use the whole egg)

6-7 thinly sliced cucumber pieces

1 small handful of romaine lettuce or any greens you like

½ of a roasted red pepper (I use the fire roasted kind found in a jar from Trader Joe’s)

1 slice of cheese (I used low fat Havarti)

2 teaspoons of hummus (I used original flavor)

1 teaspoon of pesto mayo (combine ½ Tablespoon of fresh or jarred pesto + ½ teaspoon of low fat or regular mayonnaise)

OPTIONAL:

  • Add more or less hummus, pesto mayo and different variations of veggies as you like
  • Add a little sprinkle of salt and pepper on your egg for more flavor

Preparations:

Spread the hummus on one side of the bread and the pesto mayonnaise on the other slice of bread.

To layer: (this is what I do but you can do what works for you)

Place the slice of bread spread with hummus on a flat surface first, arrange romaine lettuce on top, followed by the shredded carrots, sliced cucumbers, roasted red pepper, sprouts, sliced egg and avocado. Top with a slice of cheese and second piece of bread with the pesto mayonnaise. Eat!

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Perfect Berry Parfait

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Berry bowl of goodness….yum

This is one of my favorite quick snacks that I also eat for breakfast or lunch. Greek yogurt is basically only one of two kinds of yogurt that I actually like. I usually only make this when I buy fresh granola from Mother’s Market for my mom which is WAY better than most kinds in my opinion. It’s actually much softer with a richer flavor. It’s definitely a bit pricey but since it’s my mom’s favorite I love getting it for her. :-)  The granola is from The Stoneage Bakery, 100% organic, sweetened with agave nectar, includes flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut and rolled oats. It’s pretty great. Recipe and picture below:

The ingredients

The ingredients

Perfect Berry Parfait

Servings: 1

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Recipe Ingredients:

1 cup of Greek yogurt (vanilla or strawberry flavored)

¼ cup of fresh blackberries

¼ cup of fresh blueberries

¼ cup of fresh raspberries

2 Tablespoons of fresh granola

OPTIONAL:

  •  Use any flavor/type of yogurt and fruit you like
  • Add a drizzle of honey for even more sweetness

Preparations:

Place yogurt in a bowl, top with berries and sprinkle granola on top. Enjoy!

 

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