Thursday, August 14, 2014

Salted Chocolate Chia Bark - 5 Minutes to WOW and My Little Low Carb Rant!

This evening I was in the mood for something quick and delicious for dinner. I used to be foolish enough to think those 2 things (quick and delicious) couldn't be combined. I've since learned that they certainly can be and that there is absolutely no good reason (that I can think of) not to combine them whenever possible. As a person that works full time by day and close to full time blogging and creating recipes by night...I've come to appreciate the simplicity of quick and easy, particularly on weeknights. 

I have so many new followers now...many that have no idea how long I've been doing this, nor how frequently. Do you realize that I have been blogging my low-carb, grain-free meals and recipes almost every single day for over 2 years now??? Besides the work here on my blog, I do many other projects for a variety of different "entities"...some that might just surprise you! But, I'm a lady and I never "cook and tell." Why do I do this some might wonder? For one simple reason...I want EVERYONE to experience the positive effects of living low carb and grain free that I have. It's not just about the weight loss...it's about so much more. My triglycerides were once 656 and I had various joint aches and pains. My weight went up and down...mostly up. Since going wheat and grain free with "no added sugar" over 2 years ago, my triglycerides plummeted to as low as 80...I not only dropped 68 pounds but have maintained it EASILY over these last 2 years. I am never EVER hungry...I don't exercise myself to death...I haven't counted a single calorie. I've eaten foods (like fats) that I had been brainwashed into believing would make me fat, not lose fat; only to find out that the foods I thought would make me slim like those darned "healthy" whole grains were actually what were causing and contributing to my weight gain, my sky high triglycerides, and the achiness in my joints. I would like to scream at the top of my lungs..."Liar, Liar Pants on Fire." Instead, I do the next best thing...I try to help folks SEE through my daily posts and photos how delicious grain free eating can be. When I first read the list of "allowable foods" in the Wheat Belly book...I just knew my culinary life (both cooking and eating) was over. Nope...just the opposite! I actually started this blog several months BEFORE going grain free. After going grain free, I just knew that not a single soul would be interested in my low carb cooking...WRONG AGAIN! As I type this post, I look at how much I thought I knew, but really didn't! 

Now, it took a little while for people to find me...and a while to build a following...it hasn't been easy. I have been persistent...I've done lots of work for free because every single person that I can get to SEE how awesome low carb living is and can be...and at least give it a try is worth my time and effort. As of today, I have almost 14,000 Facebook followers, almost 5,000 Pinterest followers and have had over 1.3 million visits to my blog. If you'd like to see a quick overview of my low carb meals over the last 2 years...check out this link to my Pinterest page: Gourmet Girl Cooks - 2 years of Low Carb Meals. If you click on a photo you like, it takes you to my blog post where the recipe resides. There are 643 pins of my daily meals...there will be 644 after I finish this post! I am not a professional cook or health guru...I am the girl next door, I am your friend, I am your sister, I am your mother...I am simply a "regular girl" with a personal mission to show the world what low carb living can be like for the "average person" like me. For me, this is a labor of love. For the many of you who have asked...some day I hope to write a cookbook...it's on my bucket list. But for now...this blog's for you!

This evening I made Grilled Boneless Chipotle Chicken Thighs and my Easy Coleslaw. If you haven't tried my coleslaw yet, it's worth trying. It is super duper easy and REALLY good. I usually use my own spices on my grilled chicken, but this evening I'm using McCormick's Grill Mates "Chipotle & Roasted Garlic" seasoning. It just looked and sounded good. I'm also going to post my recipe for the easiest little treat. I decided to mix dark chocolate and chia together...and no, this isn't chocolate chia pudding. It's so simple that you might shed a tear or two. It consists of your favorite dark chocolate bar melted along with a touch of coconut oil and mixed with chia seeds...and sprinkled with a little Pink Himalayan sea salt (or whatever sea salt you have on hand). So...in this one little dessert, you have the protein and fiber of chia seeds and the antioxidants in dark chocolate (preferably 70 to 85% or higher)...a smidge of coconut oil and the healthy touch of Pink Himalayan sea salt. All treats don't have to be bad for you...this is one of the "good guys". The simple recipe and photos are below. Enjoy!




Tonight's simple dinner...Grilled Chipotle Seasoned Chicken & Easy Coleslaw
Melted chocolate chia mixture is spread on parchment paper
Chilled in the refrigerator until firm
Broken into chunks of Salted Chocolate Chia Bark
Chocolatey, crunchy, salty...amazingly simple!

Salted Chocolate Chia Bark

Ingredients:

1 3.5-ounce dark chocolate bar (I used organic Green & Black's)
1 teaspoon organic coconut oil
Few drops liquid stevia, optional
1/4 cup organic chia seeds
1/8 teaspoon sea salt (I used Pink Himalayan Sea Salt)

Directions:

Break up chocolate bar and place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for approximately 2 minutes, checking and stirring at 30-second intervals. When almost melted, stir in coconut oil and mix until smooth and melted. Add optional stevia, if desired. Stir in chia seeds.

Pour chocolate mixture onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm. Break into chunks. Store bark in the refrigerator.

         

44 comments:

Pattie said...

I love you! I love your recipes and thank you for all you do!!!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks SO much Pattie!!! <3

Dawna said...

Ayla, I cannot even begin to tell you how much I appreciate all the work you put into this blog! I visit you through this blog everyday to see what amazing gift you have for us. Your diversity in recipes, your amazing photography and your home spun spirit makes you so approachable and real. You make all this look effortless though I know better. Your recipes, your Costco finds (even though here in Canada, most of what you find is not available to us through our Costcos.....pity) and your own personal journey with your husband, children, work and most importantly....the authentic YOU! So again Ms Gourmet Girl Cooks, thank you and know that your efforts are truly inspiring and phenomenally tasty.

Renee said...

You are my grain free, low carb sensei, GG. I come to you literally every day for ideas. Were it not for you I really think my husband would have bugged out on me and this WOE a year ago. We started Wheat Belly in July 2013 and he might've made it a month, lol. Thanks from the bottom of our hearts (and bellies) and ROCK ON!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Renee,

Thanks SO much! I'm so happy some of my ideas have helped you (and your husband). That alone makes it worth my while. Congratulations to you both on passing the 1-year WB mark too! I think knowing that there is lots of variety and choices helps keep this way of eating from becoming boring. So glad if I have helped in any way. Thank you! :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks so very much Dawna!!! I'm happy that you enjoy the blog and glad you enjoy popping in every day to "see what's cooking". ;-) I appreciate your kind words more than you know. Thank you! :-)

Chris said...

Hi Ayla,
I was lucky enough to find your blog and recipes soon after reading Wheat Belly. Now we have been eating this way for over a year and so value your recipes and posts. We love your recipes! Like you, my husband had high cholesterol and was on Lipitor. No more! I look forward to every post and recipe and truly do hope to meet you and thank you some day.

Ginny said...

Love your blog! I don't often comment but I read just about every day. Not just for the great recipes but for the moral support it gives me on the days I really want to cave and have some grains :) Thank you!!!!

Sami said...

Congratulations on all you have achieved, and for being the inspiration for those that want to follow a grain free diet. Great and easy recipe too.

Anonymous said...

GG you are one of the first people I check in with everyday!
I love your blog and your recipes are awesome.
I also love how you share your Costco finds as I am a Costo girl too!
Thank you for all of your effort. You help so many more than you know.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks so much! So glad your husband was able to get off of his Lipitor -- every day without Lipitor is a GOOD day! Thanks so much...it would be great to meet you some day too! :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Ginny,

Thanks so much. It's good to know you enjoy the blog. It does help sometimes to get that daily affirmation that grain free/low carb really is a good way to live. So glad you enjoy it. Thank you! :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Anonymous,

So glad you enjoy the blog...as well as my Costco finds! LOL I love my weekly trips to Costco. I wish everyone had one nearby! Thanks for your kinds words, too! :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Sami,

Thanks so much for your kind words! :-)

Anonymous said...

I discovered your site after loosing the weight going low carb. Your site gave me the chance to keep up this lifestyle by reintroducing variety in my diet.

I eat so many of your recipes on a daily basis, that my wife jokes that I eat more often with you than with her :-)

You might be happy to know that all your hard work is even spreading through my french area in Gatineau, Quebec.

Luc

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks so much, Luc! For me personally, variety is a big part of maintaining this style of eating long term (as in forever). I am never bored. So happy to hear my work is spreading through your French area of Quebec, too! That makes me feel special! Merci! ;-)

P.S. - Tell your wife "merci" for sharing you at mealtime! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Love your blog and your recipes. Wish I was as successful with the weight loss - I've actually gained weight in the eleven months I've been gluten and sugar free.

I only have the black chia seeds - do you think they would work in this recipe? I also have some hemp hearts (thanks, Costco) - maybe I'll try a mixture of the two.

Anonymous said...

I have been following you with your YUMMY recipes for several months now and have to say how you've made it so easy for me to follow a grain-free diet. You've been a great help and truly enjoy your missives and recipes. Mahalo nui loa...

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Anonymous...

Regarding only having the black chia seeds...that's okay, I actually used half white and half black seeds (for no reason other than I had a partial bag of the white and opened up a bag of the black to have enough). Hemp hearts/seeds would probably also be a good combination too. When you mentioned gaining weight eating "gluten/sugar free"...are you grain free, too? I'm totally grain free which might make a difference. I try to stay around 50 net carbs per day. Hope you enjoy these! :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Anonymous (from Hawaii),

Thanks so very much. I'm so happy you are enjoying the recipes and glad to hear they are helping assist you on your grain-free journey. I wish you the BEST of luck! :-)

Lynne W. said...

I am definitely going to try this!!!

Sally Asher said...

WOW I never thought to put Chia seeds in my dark chocolate with coconut oil, but its a dynamic combination! Thanks for your wonderful blog Ayla. Your recipes are consistently delicious and creative and help make this lifestyle sustainable and interesting.I admire your work and would love your cookbook!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hope you enjoy it Lynne! :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Sally,

Thanks so much. Hope you enjoy it. Thanks so much for the kind words! :-)

CyberSis said...

Hi GGC,

HERE HERE to you and to your wonderful "rant"! I could never imagine life without carbs, especially pasta, artisan whole grain breads, my favorite organic millet/rice breakfast cereal, sweet corn when it's *really* good, to name just a few ... but most especially the *pasta*! My doctor had been bugging me about my triglycerides, but thanks to you and your fabulous recipes I no longer miss pasta or the other carbs. The triglycerides are at 58 AND no more tummy troubles since ditching the wheat! Your recipes are Real Food, Real Tasty, AND Hubby Friendly, to boot. Thank You Ayla for all that you do, both on and off your blog! :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi CyberSis,

Thank you! I here you about the pasta! That was probably one of the most difficult -- I used to enjoy buying all the gourmet stuffed ravioli that Costco carries. Wow...triglycerides of 58...that is unbelievable!!! So glad you enjoy the blog. If I'm going to spend this much time on it...I'm glad to know that you and others are enjoying it! Love that it's "hubby friendly" too! Thank you! :-)

Kathryn said...

I love your blog! Thank you for an excellent blog!

Anonymous said...

I love your blog and I'm 1-yr wheat/gluten free in Sept. I've used your blog numerous times for inspiration and recipes. Your easy cole slaw is a favorite and I love the no flip berry pancake too! Thanks for all your work - I really appreciate it!!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks so much! Congrats on almost 1 year wheat free! I'm so happy you are enjoying some of the recipes. Thanks so much for your kind words too. :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Kathryn,

Thanks so much for the kind words. So glad you are enjoying the blog! :-)

Alana H said...

Hi Ayla. This is my first time posting, but am an avid follower of you for the past 5 months or so. Wanted to let you know, although we don't have your shops or some of the ingredients you mention, and I need to convert your recipes from metric, I've been inspired and copied many of your ideas. Thank you so much for your hard work. From an Aussie in Brisbane, Australia.

Roberta said...

THANK YOU! Your recipes are the prime reason I have been able to remain grain and sugarfree for over a year. My cooking skills had evaporated after a decade of " cooking for one" which mostly meant fast food, Thank You

Anonymous said...

I found your blog over the Thanksgiving holiday and have loved it ever since. I have made many of your recipes especially your skillet pancake and OMG! Gotta love your cranberry orange butter sauce. I was just raving about it last night. I enjoy the ease of your recipes and the shopping at Publix!! I just can't believe you do this daily and work another job! Thank you for all you do. It's great!!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi there,

Thanks so much. So happy you found my blog over Thanksgiving and happy you are enjoying the recipes.That pancake and orange butter sauce are some of my favorites, too. I'm looking forward to making it again soon! Thanks for the kind words. :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Alana,

Thanks so much! I'm happy you've been able to adapt my recipes so you can enjoy them "down under". I am so glad you are enjoying the recipes and getting some ideas. It's nice to have variety so it doesn't get boring. Thanks so much for letting me know! :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Roberta,

Thanks so much. You don't know how happy that makes me to hear my recipes have helped you stay on track. I believe variety is the "spice of life" and so happy you are enjoying my recipes. Thanks so much for letting me know! :-)

Alice said...

I just found your blog last weekend and have been reading here everyday since. Love how your recipes sound and look and am looking forward to making many of them.

I'm a long-time low carber, also wheat-grain-sugar free, so that part isn't new to me. What is incredibly helpful and awesome is to see how you have made this wonderful lifestyle successful for you and your family with meals that are delicious!

I love to cook, but usually wind up going with quick and easy, make enough to eat on for several days. It is so nice to find your awesome ideas and see how you've put this all together. You have really given me a huge dose of inspiration and I cannot fully express my appreciation.

Thank you for all you do, all you share, and I hope your life is blessed beyond measure!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Alice,

Thank you SO much for the kind words. I am so happy you've gotten a little inspiration here. That's part of why I put so much time into posting my meals and recipes.

When I first went low carb, I feared it would be boring and full of deprivation so I was determined to make sure it was something with lots of variety so I wouldn't get bored with it. Posting almost daily also helps keep me on track and accountable, too.

Again, thanks so much for the kinds words. I'm glad you stumbled upon me! :-)

Anonymous said...

Ayla, I just found your blog this morning and I'm am so relieved. I've only been on Wheat Belly for about a month and I've felt so at loose ends and without direction. It's been hard to put real meals together while trying to learn to cook in a completely new way. I've pinned your recipes to death this morning I'm afraid, lol! I can't wait to try them and I'm so happy you are here to help me get it all together. I truly believe this is the magic I've been searching for in my life for so long. Thank you so much for all your hard work, your generous sharing and your deep commitment to this lifestyle. I greatly appreciate you!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks so much for the kind words. I remember exactly how you feel because I was sort of overwhelmed when I first began, too. It's a lot of change and the looking at the list of what "to eat" and what "not to eat" left me feeling like a deer in the headlights. It wasn't until I figured out how to put those things together into something relatively normal and familiar and tasty that I began to relax a bit and feel like this really could be a lifestyle change and not just another fad or phase for me.

It will be 3 years for me this summer and I hope that you will find recipes to inspire you and ones that you enjoy. Life is too short to continually feel deprived. Let me know if I can help. :-)

Barb said...

I'm definitely going to try the bark. I have black chia, but I recently bought a bag of the whet and will use those. Thank you for all your great recipes.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Barb,

Thanks so much. I hope you enjoy it! :-)

Matthew McGarvey said...

Is it 1/4 cup of dry, or hydrated chia seeds?

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Matthew,

I used 1/4 cup dry seeds...you could use less if you wanted. :-)