Chocolate Delight

As we try to maintain our diet, every now and then we get a sweet craving. For me, its primarily chocolate. We found a recipe on a diet board online (I wish I had a link to share) that gives us great chocolate flavor without so much of the guilt that is involved.  Here is what we did:

2/3 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

If you are not  a honey person, you can substitute for maple syrup. 

First, begin by making sure the coconut oil is liquid. If it is not, warm it in a boiler until it melts on low heat. 

Add cocoa powder, honey vanilla extract and salt to coconut oil. Mix well.

Take a mini-muffin tin and spray with cooking spray. Fill each tin about 1/3 of the way full. This should make about 20 chocolate pieces.

Place tin in fridge and let harden for at least 2 hours. After they are set, take then out of the tins, but I would keep them in a container in the fridge, due to melting.

And there you have it! They are tasty, and help with craving every now and then. Try it sometime!

Coconut Flour Waffles

We decided to have breakfast for dinner and try using some coconut flour we received as a gift. After we found a recipe on the Girl vs. Dough website, I must say these are great! The are light, fluffy,and tasty. Put your favorite (light) syrup and some cooked apples, and you have some good waffles. I also made some homemade sausage to go with it. In all, this dinner is gluten free and Paleo approved!

8 eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk

The original recipe called for coconut milk, but we substituted for regular milk.

Break eggs into a mixer and mix together. Pour melted butter and mix for another 10 seconds. Add your milk, then dry ingredients and mix until incorporated well.

Pour batter into a waffle maker, about 1/4 cup and cook until desired doneness.

It was a delicious breakfast for dinner!

Seared Pork Chops

This recipe is another Whole 30 favorite that is simple and flavorful. I cooked up some sweet potato fries and apples with it to make a great combination. For this recipe the ratios are approximate for the chops.

5 pork chops (thick cut)
2 cups apple cider
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp clarified butter

Take your thick cut pork chops and butterfly them so they are flat. In a fridge safe container, place all your pork chops and cover with the apple cider. Marinate 4 hours to overnight.

Remove pork chops from liquid and pat dry with a paper towel. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika on both sides evenly.

Heat a skillet on medium-high heat and add clarified butter.  Cook pork chops for about 4 minutes per side or until the chops are cooked medium-well. Don't overcook!

The result is very flavorful pork chops that are moist and tender. The apple cider is the key!

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

We are having a social/swimming  party at church and it gave me a good excuse to try my hand at some chocolate ice cream.  It turned out great! Creamy, chocolaty, goodness! Here is what I did:

2 cans chocolate sweetened condensed milk
1 can pet milk
1 ½ cups sugar
1 quart half n half
4 eggs, to be tempered
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate syrup

In a small boiler, take two cans of the chocolate sweetened condensed milk, one can pet milk(evaporated milk) and sugar and bring to where all contents are hot and sugar has dissolved but not boiling.

Take four eggs and whisk. Take hot mixture and slowly temper the eggs. Once eggs are properly tempered, mix eggs in mixture and remove from heat. Add vanilla. Pour mixture into four quart size ice cream maker. Pour in half n half. Stir and place in fridge for two hours or longer.

When thoroughly chilled, use electric ice cream maker as per instructions.
This is one you need to try! The chocolate condensed milk is the star of this recipe.

Old Hickory-Columbus, MS Review

Image via  It was raining when I tried to take my pic.

My dad's birthday is coming up Sunday and we decided to take him out for a steak. We decided to take him to Old Hickory in Columbus, MS. I wanted to also review the restaurant while I was there, because Old Hickory is a happening place in Columbus. Here are my thoughts:

1. The atmosphere: The atmosphere is a very rustic, old-fashioned restaurant. If I had one word to describe it, I would call it a "manly" restaurant. I would not call this a fine dining restaurant, and would not take someone for a "date night" dinner. It has a much more casual feel to it. 

2. The service: The service was average to above average. The waitress was very pleasant and checked on us periodically. She had a smile on her face when she waited on us. 

3. The food: 

Sirloin for two.

You will realize quickly the only food you can order on the menu is beef.  From rib-eyes to large sirloin to filet, you have beef galore. Every main meal comes with a salad, potato, and bread. 

We noticed right at the beginning that the salad only came with three types of dressings: ranch, blue cheese, or thousand island.  My wife does not like mayo or cream based dressings so she had to eat her salad with no dressing. Also, we noticed that the dressings are "community" dressings. The dressings came out in three large bowls to the table that you dipped with a spoon.  Now I am not sure of the protocol, but we noticed two possibilities happening with the dressings. 1. They were wasting a huge amount of dressings by bringing that amount out  and then discarding it. Or, 2.  They were re-using the same containers at different tables,  in which how do we know someone didn't lick the spoon and put it back in the dressing? That seemed a little off for us, either way.

We had the sirloin for 2 and it had a good flavor to it. However, the sirloin was very thick and had a very large amount of silver skin that made about 1/3 of it not edible or hard to cut. The pieces that did not have the silver skin were very good. It was cooked perfectly medium-rare.

The potato was just an average potato that came with the meal. 

4. Price: At almost $25 for a steak, it would need to be a near-perfect steak. Unfortunately, due to the toughness of our steak we didn't feel it was worth the $46  steak for 2  that we purchased.  We feel this was probably more of a $30 steak. My parents whom were with us had rib-eyes, and said they were cooked very well. 

5. Overall: For a casual experience with one of the better tasting steaks you can go out and eat, this is a good place.  The price is a little steep, for I could buy the same steak and cook at home for a fraction of the cost with just as much flavor.  I would not recommend this as a "fancy" date you would take a first date or for your anniversary.  It is a man's man restaurant. If you don't like beef don't go here. With just a few minor criticisms, however it is a good place to eat. I recommend you try it a least once if you are in the Columbus, MS area.

Visit their Facebook page here.

Old Hickory Steakhouse
1301 Hwy 45 N
Columbus, MS