Saturday, October 21, 2017

#Choctoberfest Final Day! Taste of Chocolate 2009 Cookbook: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread (Sponsored by Imperial Sugar)

Today is the final day of #Choctoberfest, and I saved my favorite recipe last to pair with a sponsored post from our Gold Sponsor.

Imperial Sugar is a Gold Sponsor of Choctoberfest, and if you follow me on Instagram, you can see why.  (Check out the post from the day the shipment of sugar they sent me came in!)  Imperial Sugar sent every Choctoberfest blogger who signed up with them literally 88 pounds of sugar to use!  Since 1843, Imperial Sugar has been the go-to sugar brand for family holiday baking time, so when it came time to make my favorite fall bread, it seemed like a perfect match.

I didn't have to go too far into the history of the person who submitted this recipe to the Taste of Chocolate cookbook...because it was me!  Funny story, actually.  I had never made this bread before when we were putting the cookbook together, but we needed more recipes to go in it, and when I googled "chocolate recipes," this was one of the first things that came up...and for good reason!  This stuff is amazing.

Since Dennis and I wouldn't be able to eat the entirety of this bred (especially with all the other Choctoberfest treat lying around!), I took this bread into work, and it was a BIG hit.  Most people didn't know who made it, though, and when people have found out it was me in the days since, everyone has begged me for the recipe.  So here it is!

Thank you so much to all of my fellow Choctoberfest participants for making this such a fun event.  I for sure look forward to joining in next year! 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
Makes 1 loaf
(Recipe can be doubled)


1 1/2 cups white sugar (I used Imperial Sugar)
8 oz. canned pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 Tbsp. water
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease and flour a loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, oil, water, and eggs.  Beat until smooth.

Blend in flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Bake for 1 hour, then insert a knife to make sure it comes out clean.  If not, bake in 7-minute increments until done. (Mine took about an hour and 15 minutes.)

Cool on a wire rack.  Take any leftover bread to work and become the most popular person in the office.

Also, make sure to check out everyone's final Choctoberfest recipe below!


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

#Choctoberfest Day 3: Taste of Chocolate 2009 Cookbook - Chocolate Flank Steak with Pineapple Salsa (Sponsored by Rodelle)

Happy day 3 of #Choctoberfest!  I hope everyone has been checking out all of the bloggers involved in this event...there's some really good stuff being posted in this event!

Today's post is sponsored by Rodelle.  They provided Choctoberfest participants with their Gourmet Baking Cocoa (even though I didn't bake with it!)  The cocoa powder is Dutch-processed, which provides a more consistent flavor than un-processed cocoa does.  (Dutch-processing helps in avoiding the bitterness of cocoa if you wondered.)  Rodelle's Gourmet Baking Cocoa also has a number of health benefits, including being naturally kosher-, cholesterol-, and gluten-free, and containing calcium, fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Also, this cocoa contains one of the highest levels of cocoa butter on the market, allowing for a great cocoa flavor.

All that being of my goals of this event was to make and post recipes that involved chocolate but that weren't necessarily going to give you cavities,  Hard to do when the theme is chocolate, but I hit a home run with this recipe!

This is another recipe from the Taste of Chocolate cookbook, and this one is from Mrs. Donna Powers-Wilson.  I put Donna as a Mrs. instead of a Ms. because I actually know/knew her.  We used to be Facebook friends, but she's not on my list anymore.  She's still alive, though, so maybe one of these days, I'll be able to track her down and tell her how AMAZING this steak was!

The steak was great, but I'm not gonna lie; the real star here was the salsa.  When Dennis was having steak leftovers, he was like, "What's missing?"  And I said we'd eaten all the salsa when we had the steak the first time.  He was genuinely sad.  (I was, too.)

I'm not saying you have to double the pineapple salsa recipe, but I'm gently suggesting that you do.

Also, I spent a good amount of time looking for "pineapple tidbits" at the store and had almost resorted to buying pineapple rings and dicing them when I found the tidbits.  They really are the perfect size, so use them if you can find them!

Oh, and I almost forgot!  Remember yesterday, when I said I had a second Davis Chocolate item to showcase?  It was some 70% Cocoa Cocktail sticks that go excellently with a good dark, red wine and some steak!

Chocolate Flank Steak with Pineapple Salsa
Serves 2



1/4 cup white vinegar
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa)
1 Tbsp. firmly packed brown sugar (I used Imperial Pure Cane Sugar Brown Sugar)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ancho chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 1/2 lbs. flank steak

Pineapple Salsa

1 large can Pineapple Tidbits, drained
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 Tbsp. cilantro (mine was frozen, but fresh is better!)
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. salt

To make the salsa
In a medium bowl, combine all salsa ingredients.

Cover and chill for at least one hour.

To make the steak
In a large Ziplock bag (or large container if you're like me and forgot to get bags), combine all ingredients except steak.

Make sure the marinade ingredients are thoroughly combined, then add the steak to the bag/container.

Chill 4 to 6 hours.

Remove the steak from the marinade and discard the marinade.  Broil on a foil-lined pan or cook on grill for 8 minutes per side, or until desired doneness is reached.  Or you can do what I did and bust out your grill pan, set your smoke detector off a bunch of times, and cook the steak to a nice internal temperature of 145°F.

Let steak rest for 10 minutes, then cut across the grain into strips.

Serve with Pineapple Salsa and bask in the glory of the most delicious steak ever to be created.

Make sure to check out the Wednesday recipes from other Choctoberfest participants below!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

#Choctoberfest Day 2 - Taste of Chocolate 2009 Cookbook: Grandma's Chocolate Treats (Sponsored by Davis Chocolate)

If you missed #Choctoberfest post #1, find it here!

I knew I was going to be doing Choctoberfest for a while, but I had no idea what I was going to make, and no idea what cookbook I was going to use.  Luckily, two bits of inspiration hit on the same day.

First of all, one of the Choctoberfest sponsors, Davis Chocolate, sent me two items.  One of them, I can't tell you about yet, because they'll show up in tomorrow's post, but the second one was peanut butter chips!  The Davis Chocolate peanut butter chips are currently the only organic peanut butter chip available, and although I melted them for this recipe, they're awesome by the handful as well.  (Trust me.)  They're also soy and dairy free, and although that's not a particular concern of mine, I know it's an issue for a lot of people.

The second bit of inspiration was remembering that, back in 2009, when I was living in Small Town North Carolina, I'd been involved in the local Taste of Chocolate event.  Every year, local bakers, chefs, and home cooks enter their best chocolate recipes into a competition and event goers get to taste all the delicious wares.  In 2008, I reported on the event, and in 2009, I found myself on the Taste of Chocolate Planning Committee.

This committee planned the event, but the most important thing we did (in my humble opinion), was creating the Taste of Chocolate 2009 cookbook.  I was cookbook co-chair for this version of the cookbook, and it's pretty great, if you ask me.

So the same day I got the Davis Chocolate shipment, I was still trying to figure out what cookbook I was going to use and what recipes I was going to make out of it.  I was having a conversation with Dennis, and then suddenly, the conversation took a weird turn.

Me:  Oh!  Oh, I have an idea!  I know what I'm going to use!
Dennis:  ...what?
Me:  The book!  I have to find the book!
Dennis:  ???

I dug through my Church and Raising Money For Things cookbook collection (Come on.  You guys know I love a good church cookbook!) and unearthed the Taste of Chocolate 2009 cookbook.  And you guys?  It was good.  I found some GREAT stuff in it, not least of which was my name listed as cookbook co-chair.

One of the most interesting recipes I found was for something called Grandma's Chocolate Treats, submitted to the cookbook by one Ms. Lillian Klose.  (I don't think THIS is the Lillian Klose in question, but OH, IF IT WERE!)

Side Note:  You'd think that a recipe with 4 ingredients would be pretty easy (side side note:  apologies to Ms. Klose.  I substituted her butterscotch chips for Davis Chocolate's peanut butter chips.  If you'd tried them, Ms. Klose, you'd forgive me, I'm certain).  But it took me FOREVER to track down these potato sticks!


(I finally found them at Wal-Mart!)

These are...weirdly, weirdly good.  I think so, Dennis thinks so, and my co-worker, Tracy, thinks so.  So thanks, Lillian Klose's grandmother!  I'll be making these again for sure!

Grandma's Chocolate Treats
From the Taste of Chocolate Cookbook 2009
Makes approximately 12-16 treats


1 cup unsalted peanuts
1 cup potato sticks (or stix, as the case may be)
1 cup peanut butter chips (I used the ones from Davis Chocolate)
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Microwave chocolate chips and peanut butter chips together in 145-second increments, stirring every 15 seconds, until melted.

Mix in potato sticks and peanuts.

Spoon into roughly 1-inch balls onto waxed paper.

Refrigerate until solid.

Enjoy the crap out of these, because they are delicious.


Monday, October 16, 2017

#Choctoberfest Welcome Post - Low-Carb Blueberry-Chocolate Breakfast Smoothie (Sponsored by Barlean's!)


Today is the official start of #Choctoberfest! This is the third annual food blogger celebration of all things chocolate, made possible thanks to our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar (and other sponsors listed below). More than 70 bloggers are participating in #Choctoberfest 2017 and will be posting more than 200 chocolate recipes over the next week to satisfy your sweet tooth (or your savory tooth in some cases!) 

Visit any of the blogs listed below, or use the #Choctoberfest hashtag on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to follow along. You can also check out our #Choctoberfest Pinterest board, for chocolate recipes all year long. 

Also, you can also enter to win our #Choctoberfest prize pack, thanks to our amazing sponsors who are contributing the following items for the prize:
  • $100 gift card to Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table from our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar
  • 1 case of granulated white sugar (40 pounds), 1 case of light brown sugar (24 pounds), 1 case of dark brown sugar (24 pounds), and 1 case of powdered sugar (24 pounds) from our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar
  • 16 oz Barlean’s Butter-Flavored Coconut Oil, 9.52 oz canister of Chocolate Silk Greens, and 8oz bottle of Essential Women Omega-Swirl Chocolate Mint from our silver sponsor Barlean's
  • 300-piece Lindt LINDOR Truffles gift bag (you choose the flavors!) from blog sponsors The PinterTest Kitchen
This prize pack is valued at over $450! To enter, follow participating sponsors and bloggers using the below giveaway widget:

a Rafflecopter giveaway Stay tuned to see what delicious recipes bloggers have cooked up using Imperial Sugar and Barlean's products. Thank you also to Davis Chocolate and Rodelle for being #Choctoberfest shoutout sponsors!

Watch Instagram and Facebook to find out more about about their chocolate products.

Here is a complete list of all the bloggers participating in #Choctoberfest 2017, so you can see the recipes they are posting throughout the week: The PinterTest KitchenFix Me a Little LunchSavory MomentsCrumbs in my MustachioHouse of Nash EatsBake It With LoveThat RecipeHardly A GoddessCooking With CarleeA Kitchen Hoor's AdventuresBody RebootedCindy's Recipes and WritingsThe Redhead BakerFaith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered AccompliceSweet CoraliceSeduction in The KitchenCooks&Books&RecipesEveryday EileenUnder My Apple TreeFamily Around The TableBottom Left of the MittenThe Spiffy CookieFairyburgerJoin Us, Pull up a ChairJonesin' For TasteJane's Adventures in DinnerTake Two TapasJennifer BakesThe Unlikely BakerHostess At HeartKaren's Kitchen StoriesKate's Recipe BoxKelly Lynns Sweets and TreatsWildflour's Cottage KitchenChocolate SlopesLittle House Big AlaskaMakes, Bakes and Decor2 Cookin MamasThat Skinny Chick Can BakeBooks n' CooksMildly MeanderingLiving IdeasRestless ChipotleGet the Good Stuff!The Weekday GourmetAn Affair from the HeartWest Via MidwestCookie Dough and Oven MittThe Bitter Side of SweetCookaholic WifeDaily Dish RecipesFor the Love of FoodThe Saucy SouthernerCook's HideoutBy the PoundsTramplingrose: Cooking, Baking & Ranting in Small-Town South DakotaSarah Cooks the BooksChef Sarah ElizabethFantastical Sharing of RecipesSarah's Bake StudioThe Pajama ChefFrankly EntertainingLong Distance BakingPalatable PastimeThe Freshman CookThe Food Hunter's Guide to Cuisine ♥ A Day in the Life on the FarmWendy PolisiTampa Cake GirlMy Southern Sweet ToothCanning and Cooking at HomeFull Belly SistersSuperSizeGuy.comOur Good Life

Even though it might seem counterintuitive, my first #Choctoberfest recipe is a healthy one!  A few years ago, a diabetes writer I've met a few times and love, love, love, Ginger Vieira, posted a recipe for a healthy breakfast smoothie she drank almost every day when she was pregnant with her first kid.  (She's got 2 now!  Take that, Type 1 diabetes!)

I've made this smoothie pretty regularly since getting the recipe, and the #Choctoberfest sponsor, Barlean's, gave me some great ingredients to include while giving you guys the recipes.

Since Ginger is a bodybuilder from way back, the original recipe included chocolate-flavored protein powder.  One of the items Barlean's included in their sponsorship package was a canister of Chocolate Silk Greens, which is a protein powder-like thing full of fruit and veggie antioxidants.  They recommend it either hot or cold (cold in this case!), and there's no added sugar, which is perfect for a low-carb recipe. 

The original recipe only had 4 ingredients, but in the package Barlean's sent me, I found another item that I thought would be an interesting addition to this smoothie:  the Essential Woman Omega Swirl in Mint Chocolate.

It includes emulsified flax oil that fits in great with the texture of a smoothie, and the chocolate mint flavor comes from all-natural ingredients.  This stuff can be used in smoothies like this one, in yogurt, in oatmeal, or even on ice cream.

I'll tell you honestly (and I'm always honest, even in #sponsoredposts), that when I took the first sip of this with the addition of the Omega Swirl, I wasn't convinced that mint went along with blueberries and chocolate, but as I continued drinking it, I decided it was a good plan.  If you don't have the stuff, though, it's OK.  You'll still make an awesome smoothie!

Make sure to check out the bloggers listed above for #Choctoberfest, and I hope you'll be back for the recipes I'll be posting the rest of the week, Tuesday through Friday!

Blueberry-Chocolate Breakfast Smoothie
Serves 1
Recipe from Ginger Vieria, sponsored by Barlean's


1 cup frozen blueberries
1 Tbsp. nut butter (I prefer almond butter, but I used peanut butter this time)
1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I used Barlean's Chocolate Silk Greens this time)
Almond milk to cover the above ingredients
Optional:  1 Tbsp. Essential Woman Omega Swirl in Mint Chocolate

Add blueberries, nut butter, powder, and Omega Swirl (if using) to a blender or blender cup.

Cover ingredients with almond milk.

Blend ingredients until smoothie reaches desired consistency.  Add more almond milk if the mixture is too thick.

Enjoy as a low-carb breakfast!