Chocolate Covered Strawberry Martini

This delicious, sweet and chocolaty Chocolate Covered Strawberry Martini is perfect for Valentine's Day, or just anyone with a sweet tooth! Feel like a bartender with this super simple, but delicious drink. // www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

Hello, Candidly Kelsey readers! My name is Michelle, but you can call me Elle. Who needs all those extra letters anyways? I run a blog over at www.ElleTalk.com where I talk about living a positive lifestyle, DIYs, and how to create killer cocktails.

Something a lot of people may not know about me is that I’m a choc-o-holic. I blame it on being born 2 days after Valentine’s Day and being gifted the left over candy. I love chocolate in popcorn, chocolate shakes, and chocolate covered fruit. I’ve even been known to dabble in my own chocolate making for Valentine’s Day gifts. Just call me Elly Wonka. For me this makes this time of year one of my favorites. Not only is Valentine’s Day a completely acceptable DIY holiday, but it also gives in to my love of all things sweet.

This delicious, sweet and chocolaty Chocolate Covered Strawberry Martini is perfect for Valentine's Day, or just anyone with a sweet tooth! Feel like a bartender with this super simple, but delicious drink. // www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

That’s why today I wanted to create you a cocktail that the chocolate lover in you could fully indulge on. We’re going to shake up a Chocolate Covered Strawberry Martini! We’re taking one of the best treats for Valentine’s Day and making it into the perfect after dinner cocktail. Shake it up for your significant other, for a Galentine party, or to just treat yo’ self! It’s super easy, and no prior cocktail knowledge is necessary.

In this take on a chocolate martini I use chocolate liqueur, strawberry vodka, creme de cacao, and half and half (or soy creamer if you’re LI). I prefer Godiva’s dark chocolate liqueur but I’d be willing to bet white chocolate would be delicious too. All of these ingredients are shaken over ice in a cocktail shaker then strained into a martini glass. I love adding chocolate sauce designs into the glass for a fun garnish. All you need to do is tilt your glass to a 45 degree angle, and twist the glass as you let the sauce fall into it. Then it’s time to drink it! Cheers!

This delicious, sweet and chocolaty Chocolate Covered Strawberry Martini is perfect for Valentine's Day, or just anyone with a sweet tooth! Feel like a bartender with this super simple, but delicious drink. // www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

I hope you enjoy this Valentine’s Day cocktail and if you make it send me a photo at the social links down below! I’d adore to see your creations. In the comments let me know, what is your favorite Valentine’s Day treat?

Want more from Elle, join her over at Elle Talk for more cocktails, stories, and how tos. You can also find her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


Chocolate Covered Strawberry Martini

Yields: 2
Time: 4 minutes

Ingredients:
3 shots of Dark Chocolate Liqueur
1 shot of Strawberry Vodka
3 shots of Creme De Cacao
5 shots of Half & Half
Chocolate Sauce for garnish

Tools:
Cocktail shaker
Martini glass

Directions:
Fill a shaker with ice. Pour your ingredients over the ice, and shake for 10 seconds. Swirl your martini glass with chocolate sauce, and strain your martini into the glass. Serve immediately.

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The Easiest Way to Eat Healthier

Let’s talk about healthy eating.

One of my 2016 Resolutions was to eat healthier. I’m one of those and I’m not ashamed of it. (Okay, maybe a little ashamed). And I’m also the kind of person who likes to take the easy way out.  So you can bet the first thing I do is search for some healthy eating hacks that don’t break the bank.

Easy Way to Eat Healthy

 

To do so, I vowed to do more at-home cooking and experiment with healthier recipes.  Which brought back an old best friend into my life:

The Veggetti Spiral Vegetable Slicer

Easy Way to Eat Healthier
Affiliate link!

And no, that is not the name of some new sexually transmitted disease.  It is the name of my favorite kitchen apparatus. And what will be your favorite very, very soon.

This hand-held little wonder will turn vegetables into pasta for just $10 dollars, and five minutes of cranking. And I know that sounded dirty, but that’s not how I meant it so I’m going to pretend I don’t see it even though I called it out. Moving on.

My easiest and go-to meal is sweet potato spaghetti and meatballs.  After work, I can toss some delicious Trader Joe’s Turkey Meatballs and Trader Joe’s pasta sauce (not sponsored, but totally open to the idea, Joe!) into the microwave to heat up. While doing so, I grab a sweet potato and start twisting it through the Vaggetti, creating sweet vegetable noodles.  If I have them on hand, I’ll crank a carrot or two through there as well.

It takes about 5-7 minutes on medium heat over a skillet with some garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil to soften the noodles, and voila, you’ve got yourself a guilt-free but totally satisfying dinner. Toss some parmesan on there too, who cares. You’re eating NOODLES made of VEGETABLES. A little cheese is just your reward for filling up on the good stuff, man. Enjoy that beta-carotene with a size of delicious cheese.

And this is all done in with very little preparation in about 15 minutes– which includes eating time as well. That is, if you’re me and inhale your food before it’s even cool enough to touch.

The possibilities are endless. Prefer something other than a sweet bowl of noodles? Make some zucchini noodles instead and get your greens. Though I haven’t tried it yet, I’ve also seen other suggested noodles include parsnips, squash, eggplant, and turnips.  And spaghetti squash is another personal favorite of mine, so I really don’t think you can go wrong with some Squoodles. Plus, you get to say Squoodles!

Once you have a spiralized slicer, just do a quick Pinterest search and marvel at the dinner ideas. It’s almost absurdly easy to get your vegetables when you have one of these bad boys. Invest in one and you won’t regret it. Plus, you’ll get to add “oodles” pretty much anything, which is always fun.

To get you started, here are some awesome recipes to test out:

BRB while I wipe the drool off my computer keyboard.

Do you have a favorite kitchen appliance that encourages you to eat better, or another healthy eating hack that you swear by? Tell me what it is. I love gadgets!

 

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Christmas Countdown: 3 Last-Minute (Super Easy!) Holiday Desserts + A GIVEWAY!

It’s no secret that I am Queen of Procrastination, sitting on her Royal Throne of “I Can Do It Later”. I’m really good at waiting until the very last moment to get things done, usually to my own detriment.  I can only imagine that others are also in my camp.

And as the holidays can be hella stressful, I thought I’d give you something I know everyone needs this holiday season: a few super quick and easy last-minute holiday dessert recipes!  Convince your friends and family that you totally planned ahead with these easy to throw together sweets.  Nobody has to know you bought the ingredients two hours before the party.

3 Last Minute and SUPER Easy Holiday Desserts

You’re welcome!

1.  These delicious sugar cookies from Katrina’s Kitchen that I’ve become obsessed with.  They’re super easy to prepare and the dough doesn’t need to be chilled for hours like other sugar cookie recipes, so you really can make them in a snap! And, if you’re really pressed for time and don’t have time to decorate, they’re moist and flavorful enough without icing,  Just skip the cute cut-out designs, form them into flat cookie shapes and sprinkle on some sugar before you bake.  Nobody will be the wiser!

I’ve made them twice in the past two weeks, and my mom made them once this week.  It’s replaced our old favorite sugar cookie recipe.

2.  This Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Fudge recipe from Cookie + Kate.  It’s freezer fudge, so it whips up super quickly. And who doesn’t love chocolate and peanut butter together? Awful people, probably.

Honestly, I have yet to try this recipe, but it’s book-marked for the dessert I plan on bringing to my dad’s house on Christmas Eve! I really don’t see how you can go wrong when the ingredients are chocolate and peanut butter.

3. If you want to really wow them, try some S’mores Bark.  This is a great basic recipe, but it’s so simple you really can’t go wrong.  My mom and I made this all the time when I still loved at home.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, lay down an even layer of melted chocolate, toss on some broken up graham crackers, and mini marshmallows.  If you want to get super fancy, add some melted white chocolate, almonds, or caramel.  Whatever you’re feeling, go for it! Let it cool and harden, then break into coarse pieces.  Serve with a smile and enjoy the compliments. You’re such an amazing chef!

And to reward yourself after rounding up an awesome dessert, how about another kind of little treat? I’ve teamed up with Jessica and a few others over at SomethingWhimsy.com and we’re giving away a $300 Target gift card! Enter on her blog here!

And now that I am super craving something sweet, it’s a good thing I’m on my way home to Ohio for the holiday where there will be plenty to go around. Anyone else been dreaming of holiday food for the past week or so?

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Homemade (Spirited!) Peppermint Hot Cocoa

What’s the best thing ever to have in the winter? Hot chocolate.  What is even better? Peppermint hot chocolate.  And how can you make that even better? If it was just a tad bit boozy.

Spiked Peppermint Hot Chocolate; A Boozy Cold Weather Cocktail

Thanks to the leftovers in my cabinet from the beautiful lady I am subletting my apartment from, I found myself with all the ingredients to create some delicious spirited hot cocoa.   Not so surprising, it’s super easy but SO delicious.

This is the perfect amount of boozy goodness to warm you up, but not make you afraid of walking a straight line from couch back your kitchen to get more. Though, you could always help it get to that level with just a splash of vodka.  I recommend vanilla-flavors.

I made mine originally with almond milk, and it was tasty; very rich.  I later tried it with regular milk, and it was equally as good.  I think pretty much any milk substitute will work for this.  Probably any sugar substitute as well, I just happen to like raw sugar more.  (I know, I hate me too.)

Enjoy!

 

Homemade (Spirited!) Peppermint Hot Cocoa

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Milk, or milk substitute of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 cup Raw Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 shot Peppermint Schnapps

Cooking Directions

  1. In a small pot, slowly heat milk. Add cocoa and sugar, stir until combined, then add vanilla extract and Schnapps. Add to giant, winter-themed mug and add a candy cane for garnish!
  2. Makes 1 large mug of delicious, minty (and slightly tingly!) hot chocolate!

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5 Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Budget

I love food, but I also love saving a buck.  Which is why I also love budget grocery shopping.

Other than rent, and food is my #1 money pit.  Cooking is so much fun, and I can get bored with food very quickly if it doesn’t taste good.

But damn, food is expensive.

I’ve done a lot of research (see: Pinterest-ing) on budget grocery shopping, cheap meal plans for one, and all those life hacks.  As a single lady*, I am very much into the ease of cooking a large meal and living off of it for a few days.  Bonus points if that large meal is delicious, extra points if it’s cheap.

Some hits I’ve had are crockpot taco bowls, super easy chicken and dumplings, and beef and mushroom stroganoff.  These have been in continuous rotation, along with some side bar affairs with chicken, pizza, and ice-cream-for-dinner, but we don’t have to talk about those.  For the most part, these are all pretty easy to make on a low-budget, and are easily adaptable if they’re not made for a low budget.  As the kind hearted soul I am, I wanted to share some of the hacks I’ve picked up along the away for budget grocery shopping. AKA: keep your grocery bill low, but your stomach full.

5 Tips for Budget Grocery Shopping

1. Use fewer ingredients.

The more ingredients, the higher the grocery bill.  If a recipe calls for tomatoes, but also green chiles, combine them: buy a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles already in them.  Almost every recipe calls for parsley.  I skip it, and save a few bucks.

Pictured above: Balsamic asparagus tossed with leftover baked chicken (cooked in salt and pepper) and whole grain pasta with garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. Seven ingredients for a fully satisfying meal.

2. Shop your freezer and fridge.

If you have leftovers, alway stick them in the freezer; meals, ingredients, whatever. I had a bag of frozen peas left over when I first made the beef stroganoff.  I wanted to fluff up the recipe, so I added the bag of frozen peas. I also subbed the sour cream for milk, as I already had milk in the fridge.

Awhile back, I even read about grating carrots and keeping them in the freezer, then adding them to bulk up meals.  I’ve done this with my taco bowls.  You can’t even taste them, but it adds volume to the meal to make it go longer, plus extra vegetables!

3. Invest in better ingredients.

Budget Bytes talks about using “Better than Bouillon” concentrated stock instead of buying liquid stocks for food.  It’s a concentrated solid that you keep in a jar in the fridge, then add 1 teaspoon to 8oz of boiling water to make stock.  It was around $6 at my Walmart Fresh Grocer, and I’m pretty sure I’ll have them for the rest of my life.  Think about how much money I will save on buying liquid stock from now on!

 

5 Tips for Budget Grocery Shopping

Same with frozen vegetables, canned tomatoes, beans, spices, and more.  Watch for sales, and stock up when they’re cheap.

4. Bulk meals with pasta and rice.

This one may be controversial, because gluten/carbs/bread/grains/everything is the enemy, but it’s cost effective.

When pasta is cheap, I buy a few boxes; the same for bags of rice.  It’s really easy add some vegetables and protein to a pasta, or add rice to soups or other “pour over” meals.  They bulk up the meals, and keep you full longer.  To keep it healthier, just watch your vegetable : protein : pasta/rice ratio.  More vegetables and protein, keep the pasta as a filler as opposed to the star of the dish.

5. Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan!

Do not go shopping without a plan.  Visit a few different stores to get the best prices (no shame!), and don’t deviate from the list.  The easiest way to run up your grocery bill is to go shopping hungry, or without a plan.

I like to plan my meals for the foreseeable future (usually 1-2 weeks) and keep them similar to another so I can share ingredients.  Taco bowls, then stir fry.  Can use the rice for both, chicken for both, can buy frozen bell peppers (cheaper), and onions that will be used in both, so they don’t go to waste.  Pick recipes that compliment another to keep grocery bills low.

And if you really want to keep bills low, enter the chance to win free stuff! — See how I did that? Seamless transition, ya know?

There are only two days left to enter my The Body Shop 24 Happy Days Advent Calendar giveaway! It’s super easy, and the calendar is so adorable and has great stuff in it.

And that’s it! Got any more tips for budget grocery shopping? Let me know in the comments!

*You sang the song, didn’t you? Admit it.

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