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The Easiest Homemade {Real} Chocolate Syrup Ever

It’s a little bit hard to actually call this a recipe since it’s really so simple, but when you’re a mom trying to find ways to incorporate real food in fun ways into a child’s diet, and you find a simple solution, you just have to share it!

My kids love chocolate milk. Most kids do, right? Those store-bought chocolate milks, though, are full of ingredients that we don’t feed our children, and the chocolate syrups are just as bad. There are quite a few coffee recipes out there that use cocoa (or cacao) and pure maple syrup, so I started experimenting one day, and this is the result — an amazingly simple chocolate syrup recipe with all real ingredients that mixes completely into milk (cow, almond, soy, coconut) and coffee, and it tops desserts beautifully, too!

Just two ingredients: dark cocoa or cacao powder and real maple syrup.Measure 3/4 cup of maple syrup in a sauce pan, add 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder.Heat it over medium heat while whisking until it’s just warm enough for all the powder to dissolve. Set it aside, and let it cool to room temperature.Pour it into a syrup jar or a squeeze bottle and keep it in the refrigerator door. (Our syrup jar came from Target.)When you’re ready for chocolate milk, just pour the amount of syrup that you like into your glass of milk and mix it in. Or, if you have a craving for a coffee house mocha, brew up a cup of coffee and stir in some homemade chocolate syrup with your half and half. Yum!You can do all sorts of things with this syrup: serve it with chocolate chip pancakes, pour it on chocolate sundaes, drizzle it over chocolate cake. That’s a lot of chocolate, isn’t it? Can you ever really have too much?

Last-Minute Game Day Hot Dip {Gluten Free & Low Carb}

So, there’s a big game this weekend in the U. S., and whether or not you’re a big football fan, there’s a good chance you’ll be gathering together with friends to watch it . . . or perhaps to just watch the commercials. Either way, there will be food involved. I have a tendency to fail to plan ahead when it comes to bringing along snacks to share, so I love having a few simple, but really good recipes in my stash. This one is incredibly yummy, super easy, and gluten-free/low carb to boot!

Here’s what you need to get started:1-8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of salsa
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Toss the cream cheese and the salsa into a mixing bowl.Mix until they’re well combinedDump in 1/2 cup of cheese and fold it in. Pour the mixture into a 9″ pie plate or an 8″ square baking dish.Spread the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over the top.Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the dip heated through. Garnish it with some chopped scallions, if desired.Serve it with tortilla chips or with celery sticks for your low carb friends.Quick and easy, but a little more impressive than stopping at the grocery store on the way, right?

Real Food Gluten-free Dark Chocolate Brownies &
the IJ Pattern Winner

I have been experimenting with creating a yummy, gluten-free brownie with real-food ingredients since I went gluten-free in January, and I think I finally found the one! It’s not too gooey, not too cakey, but right in between. It’s filled with dark chocolate and has just a hint of coconut flavor from the coconut oil. YUMMY!

These do have a small amount of white sugar from the chocolate chips. I started my experimentation with this recipe, and hoped to substitute something else. Nothing else worked quite the same way, though. I do use Enjoy Life chocolate chips since they’re free of soy and other allergens, and they taste great!

I’ve been working to take xanthan gum out of my gluten-free baking because it’s just not an ingredient that I’m comfortable using. It doesn’t fit the real-food guidelines well at all. I’ve found that whole husk psyllium works well in everything except for yeast bread, and it’s good for you! It’s also fairly easy to find in any health food store. (Sprouts carries the Organic India brand that I use.)The Ingredient List
¾ cup brown rice flour
½ cup almond flour
1 tablespoon whole husk psyllium
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons dark cocoa or cacao powder
½ cup salted butter (if using unsalted, increase salt by ¼ tsp.)
¾ cup + ¼ cup chocolate chips
½ cup coconut oil
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract (gluten-free)
1 cup maple syrup
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Measure dry ingredients into bowl of stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Mix or whisk by hand.Melt butter and ¾ cup chocolate chips over low heat in saucepan, stirring to keep from scorching.Once both are melted and smooth, remove from heat.Whisk in coconut oil and vanilla extract.Pour the chocolate mixture into mixing bowl and mix well. Add maple syrup, then eggs, one at a time. Mix well with each addition or allow your stand mixer to do it for you.Grease a 9X13 baking dish. Pour batter into dish and spread evenly.Sprinkle the top with the remaining chocolate chips.Bake for 32-34 minutes at 350 degrees. Brownies are done when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Be careful not to overcook them!If you can stand to wait, allow them cool before cutting them so they’ll hold together nicely. If you’re like us and need them straight out of the oven, remove them very carefully so that they don’t fall apart . . . and don’t burn your tongue trying to eat them too fast! Enjoy!Last Saturday, I shared my version of the Indygo Junction Casserole Carry-All and offered a second IJ Casserole Carry-All pattern to one of you! I asked you to share your favorite thing to bring to potlucks, and every single response made me more and more hungry. Some of you even shared whole recipes! Thank you! I’m going to have to give a few of them a try. There were 80 total individual comments, and Random.org chose #72 as the winner. Huge congratulations to Fran who said that she likes to bring Chicken and Broccoli Casserole to potluck dinners! I’ll get in touch with you right away so I can ship this pattern and the wooden spoon handles to you!

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