Chocolate Thistle & Chicken Soup

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A crunchy chocolate dessert high in cereal fiber

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A hearty chicken soup with whole grain and vegetables

Last week, Peter bought a Costco roast chicken as he often did when I was away at work.  Tasty, tender and versatile, Costco roast chicken is the best $4.99 anyone can spend.  Peter would usually eat the drumsticks on the first day, and then breast meat for sandwiches for the next couple of days.  If I am home, I often use the breast meat to make a quick chicken curry, or use it on top of a caesar salad.  And I use what’s left to make a stock — for porridge or for soup. 

When I opened the fridge today, the roast chicken carcass was waiting there to be transformed.  I suppose this is what home cooking is often about — improvise with leftovers.  I usually make the soup with hulled barley, but I was out of it today and made the soup with farro instead.

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Chicken Farro Vegetable Soup

Ingredients for the Stock:

1 Roast Chicken Carcass

1/4 cup cooking wine

1 inch giner, sliced

12 cups water

1/4 tsp salt or to taste

Ingredients for the Soup:

1/4 farro or hulled barley

1 cup diced carrots

1 zucchini

8 to 10 oz mushroom, sliced

2 cups chicken broth (from carton or can)

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Preparation:

To make the stock, put the entire carcass in a large pot with cooking wine, ginger, water and salt.  Bring to boil and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.  Turn off stove.  Pour the entire pot of soup over a colander into another large pot.  Discard the bone and the skin from the colander and save the meat.  Skim the fat off the top of the stock.

When the stock is simmering, cook the farro or hulled barley with the chicken broth in a rice cooker.

To make the soup, add the meat back into the stock with the cooked farro and carrots. Cook for about 10 minutes.  Add the zucchini and mushroom and cook for another 5 minutes.

Peter has a sweet tooth, but he is supposed to be careful with his sugar intake.  So the one thing he missed the most when I was away was healthy dessert.

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Chocolate Thistles

Ingredients:

1 1/3 3.5 oz milk or dark chocolate bar (I used dark)

1 cup All-bran cereal (I used Kellogg’s)

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/4 cup unsweetened shaved coconut

1/4 cup dried sweet cherries

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Preparation:

Break the chocolate bar and put in a bowl.  Steam the bowl with chocolate in a steamer on low to melt.  Remove the bowl from the steamer and pour in the cereal, almonds, coconut and dried cherries.

Spoon 1 tbsp mounds of chocolate mounds onto prepared baking sheet.  Transfer to freezer to set for 10 minutes.

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The Best Flour-less Chocolate Brownies!

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Spring cleaning!  After months of procrastination, I finally cleaned out my study.  It was tedious work, but I reveled in the feeling of being neat and organized.  Why didn’t I do this sooner?  I had looked at the mess now and then and thought about cleaning it, but every time  I just closed the door and walked away.  All I could say was that I was not born with the neat gene.  Whenever I visit my parents, I would lose all hope of ever get organized.  My parents’ rooms were always strewn with gift bags, newspapers and other knickknacks.  My mother, whom I most resemble, has a desk with layers of books, newspaper clippings, bottles of pills and what-have-you. 

So, it was no small feat that everything was filed into its rightful place.  And the recycling bin was full.  High time to bake some brownies for afternoon tea.  These flour-less brownies are unbelievably moist and delicious without any added fat.  They felt decadent and sinful to eat, but they are actually healthy and nutritious.  In all of my efforts in grain-free baking, this is the best recipe.  A definite keeper!

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This recipe is from Skinnytaste.com.  I added 1/2 cup of walnuts to the original.

PB2 Flourless Chocolate Brownies Ingredients:

1 large egg

1 large egg white

1 cup PB2 (see photo and note)

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp water

1/2 cup raw honey

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup semi sweet dark chocolate chips

1/2 cup walnuts

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Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray a nonstick 9 x 9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Beat the egg and egg white in a small bowl with a whisk.

In a large bowl combine the PB2, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and mix well with a spatula. Add the egg and egg whites and stir. Add water, honey, vanilla and stir with a spatula until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and bake about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool, then cut into 12 bars cutting 3 rows x 4 rows.

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Note on PB2:

PB2 is a reduced fat peanut powder that you can order from Amazon.com.  It is an ideal product to have if you like peanut or peanut butter but don’t want to ingest too much fat.

http://www.amazon.com/Plantation-PB2-Powdered-Peanut-Butter/dp/B00H8YGOMO/ref=sr_1_1?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1420601470&sr=1-1&keywords=pb2

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